Sometimes a dress is more than a dress

My mother was injured a year and a half ago, when visiting family in Jordan. She was walking down a flight of stairs at my Aunt’s residence, when she accidentally skipped a step. With her feet… Continue reading

Initial Thoughts

It has taken me years to sit down and write this book. Maybe, it has taken too many years. But this story must be told. For too many years, I have felt lost as… Continue reading

Ready to write

My mother, Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, is the leading Palestinian folk artist specializing in fabric and fiber arts in the United States. She is of the Nakba generation, who left Palestine in 1948 — and… Continue reading

Arab Feminist Manifesto

Many people challenge the idea that Arab feminism exists. As though we, Arab females, have no concern or enlightenment about misogyny. No concern over our bodies. Our safety. Our minds. It’s true, our… Continue reading

Meet… tayta

Three years ago today, I wrote this post about interviewing my grandmother, or tayta, in Jordan which she has since passed. In her honor I repost this. In 2003, when I went to the… Continue reading

Common Forms of Headdress in the Middle East

“You went to Dubai? Didn’t you feel oppressed in a burqa?” “Why do Arabs wear burqas in the dessert? Don’t they get hot?” “What am I going to wear when I go to Jordan? I… Continue reading

Precious Moments

This morning, I was walking to my office in the usually noisy and crowded streets of Manhattan — le grind. Before crossing Park Avenue, I noticed a sign that was being used to… Continue reading

Only the Dynamic, Change

It is in the natural course of life that we are introduced to the force which is “change”. We learn that change is not in our control, as much as it is in our… Continue reading

“I had just $100 in my pocket.”

Remembering Syria

As you have noticed, my dear friends, I have not been updating my blog lately. I suppose I could give you the reasons, but the fact is that I have not been motivated… Continue reading

The Quick and Dirty on Syrian Refugees

The Syrian Society for Humanitarian Aid and Development reported today that the number of refugees since the beginning of the revolution in March 2011 has now reached 485,449, with 76,000 missing people and… Continue reading

How to do in War Times

I have purposely avoided posting about the Syrian revolution during the last 21 months. Your thoughts are made up of different stuff than that of analyzing the U.S. foreign policy interests in the… Continue reading

When to Walk Away, A Dream

I am a vivid dreamer. Recently my dreams have become more vivid, so I am documenting them. I have recurring places I visit in my dreams, that I often see. People have told… Continue reading


don’t wanna be your exotic some delicate fragile colorful bird imprisoned caged in a land foreign to the stretch of her wings don’t wanna be your exotic women everywhere are just like me… Continue reading

The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict and the Question of Historical Evidence

“… In this conflict, especially, the writing of history absorbs and represents ideological disputes and political developments as much as any other cultural medium. The difference is that other media or discourses do… Continue reading

Patriarchy and Democracy in the Arab World

Continuing to explore more narrow and traditional explanations of why democratization has not penetrated the Middle East, for instance, due to the weakness and division of society, or the evidence that “richer countries… Continue reading

A Passion for Life

I didn’t realize it until recently, but my sisters and I grew up in an academic environment. My mother was very committed to making sure that she raised us, and as a result,… Continue reading

Introduction to the Modern Day Arab Feminist

A couple of weeks ago, I was meeting with a mentor at my university where I was discussing my website that focuses solely on the modern day Arab Feminist. “Let me ask you… Continue reading

Let them think well of the Arab Woman

We don’t know in which cave she got used to being whipped, but we hear her tearful, moaning submission. We threw her ropes on which she spat. She melted her chains. She reunited… Continue reading

One morning, in Syria.

On March 21, 2010, I was leaving Damascus, Syria to return to Portland, Oregon via Amsterdam, Schipol. At 10:15am, in my Uncle Yousef’s car on the way to the airport, I saw a… Continue reading

Meet… Suad Amiry

Last years TEDx Conference, where Palestinian activist and architect Suad Amiry spoke, was forwarded to me by my mother a last week with the note, “Please, please, please, take few a minutes and… Continue reading

Nothing Makes Sense. Why Should I?

Last Sunday can be described as domino of events, falling into each other in some sort of synchronized pattern, that lead me to find a deeper meaning of not just my Arab identity,… Continue reading

Ode to 3 – A Poem

Lately I have noticed a set of 3 in many areas of my life. I am either experiencing the third time of something, experiencing a 1/3 of something, a 3rd day or 3rd… Continue reading

Syria the Great

Needless to say there are many people, especially in D.C., with opinions and political positions regarding the Syrian Revolution. They tell me whether or not America should be involved in the “Syrian unrest”… Continue reading

The Reality of Following your Dream

It has been a little over a month since I packed up my things, got on a plane with my sedated cat, and headed to D.C. in pursuit of what I consistently referred… Continue reading

Veils, Harems and Belly Dancers

Stereotypes of Arab women in U.S. popular culture and common conversation are the most pervasive and striking – a backdrop to almost any political, religious or social discourse. Today, I took a taxi… Continue reading

I Flit, I Float, I Fleetly Flee, I Fly.

Ceremonial air is amidst momentary strands of lightning, All too sudden, it tends to resemble a sanctity at bound. It is as though an instance of life has closed onto itself, tightening, I… Continue reading

Meet… mama, Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim

by Safa Ghnaim,, June 3, 2011 My mom, lovely photo by Jen Dougherty In writing a reflection paper for my class on multicultural education, I thought of my mom. I am now… Continue reading

Beginnings of Arab Feminism

The invisibility of Arab feminism to the Western world is not indicative of its existence as the thriving, yet complex, form in which it manifests. In 1909, Malak Hifni Nasif published a collection of works in… Continue reading

Cultural Variations of Message in Arabs and Americans

While the [Arab and American] styles are very different, most cultural differences tend to lie below the surface of one’s awareness. Without a conscious awareness of how another culture is different from one’s… Continue reading

Trifecta of Arab Feminism

Since the recent assassination of Osama bin Laden, negative representations of the Arab-Islamic community have resurfaced in the mainstream and social media outlets despite the stamina and success of the Arab revolution. The Arab… Continue reading

What kind of Cultural Feminist are you?

One evening, over an Algerian meal, I was introduced to the concept of dual cultural identity. It was posited that the skill of dual culturalism is what the Arab American possesses, not a bicultural one. We were discussing ways of… Continue reading

Arab Feminist Perspective on the Burqa, Niqab & Hijab

Before this article delves into its substance, I want to clarify what the Burqa, the Niqab and the Hijab are because the terms are incorrectly used interchangeably. It is uncomfortable as a conversation… Continue reading

Anti-consumerism and a hairdryer

  “In [the consumerist’s] collective delusion, development is confused with consumerism, wastefulness with success, and growth with fattening. The pandemic is considered a sign of good health. [Consumerist] “success” has been so overwhelming that there is… Continue reading

10 Myths on Arab Women

At the point of intersection, between the Arab experience and the American experience, you will find me. I have struggled between rejecting the stereotypes of Arab womanhood in the United States popular culture,… Continue reading

The Arab Feminist

What once was considered an oxy-moron, has been resurrected into a new wave of female solidarity, empathy and courage in the Arab feminist movement. The attention brought to Arab female activists has complicated… Continue reading

Meet… Iman Al-Obeidi

Last night, in discussions over tea I learned about Iman Al-Obeidi. She is a  young Libyan woman who is largely regarded a hero around the world based on her courageous cry for help… Continue reading


In my last entry, I explored the disconnect between my voice and thoughts – a severance that reasons and gives rhythm to my soul and movement. Or in other words, my voice is… Continue reading

Piece(s) & Voice(s)

>The reason this article regards a part of my exploration a “bicultural identity mosaic” is because I see myself in pieces. When I stop dwelling on the details of what schools of thought… Continue reading

In passivity.

>The other night at dinner, we were discussing the feeling of passivity and how there is a daily fight to be conscious, mindful, decision makers participating voluntarily in the activities of society. This… Continue reading

What is “relevant”?

>The mantra of the United States feminist movement, “the personal is the political”, began to surface around the 1960’s. While the origins of the phrase are irrelevant to my next points, the concept… Continue reading

Finding a voice

>The personal is the political. Societies express collective emotions that manifests every part of an individuals life. My life. Your life. Our lives. I wonder if the emotions communicated from a collective society… Continue reading

Of Interest.

>Originally written at the end of December, 2010… Palestinian refugees form the largest refugee population in the world. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Palestinian registered refugees comprise approximately… Continue reading


>Originally written at the end of December, 2010… Years ago, I read an article in a Boston newspaper titled Sojourner; The Women’s Forum, dated May 1986. My mother was interviewed about her journey… Continue reading

When to walk away

>its always in the moment when fear rushes over you you can sense pain all over again caught in this colorful tornado reminding you of what once was. what once was, is not… Continue reading

This won’t take long

>Not a day of illusions that things will get betterNot a day to deconstruct my expectionsThis is not a day to think of my days spentIts not a day to hope for moreIts… Continue reading

Green glow, take me home

>not much more but thatgreen glow is prettier than the reda word depositbroken promise is like a debt with wordssign the contract but you dont payyou wont paythats itthats itI want to open… Continue reading

Gold tray, teapot, full embrace

>A gold tray with a teapotFour arms in full embraceTwo minds in the same memoryOne heart standing aloneThen we break itAnd thump itAnd hug it and hold itThrow it and despiseitMiss it and… Continue reading

مياه زرقاء فيروزي

>this is to continue the conversationstarting to get deepand thoughtfulstarting to get personaland thoughtfulwhen someone talks about tragedythrough their hometheir moneytheir servantstheir lifethey are talking about familytalking about a familya family they wishedthey… Continue reading

What you got

>Why and how is distracting. The why and the how is irrelevant.My why and your how is nothingOur why and how is goneIt is a moment gone, How can a moment obsessed over… Continue reading

Purple calendars, black hot pants, empty stomach

>blood is in my coffeeit feels like it is everywherewhat is left after10,000 tons misplacedor stolentaken awayand stolen.what is left after 10,000 tons are gonenot reliefno helpwordsempty words and actions that leave me… Continue reading

El Hanouni

> ana haiki rasi w ana hora be ehsasi ,ba3ti men albi sade2 beb2a 3al wa3ed w ma fare2wen ma 3etyou mano fare2 , ana hiyi el hanouni anaAlbi byehki 3ani , bel… Continue reading

Constant state of struggle

>Ambivalence and struggle are in a relationship. Ambivalence only responds when Struggle feels the worst. Struggle feels the worst when Ambivalence doesn’t pay attention to Struggle. Struggle wants to be supportive, but cannot… Continue reading

Is it just me.

>Is it just me, or are my words tiring.Is it just you, that thinks things could always get worse.Can it be just me, that obey’s a voice that is unsoundedThat keeps me here,… Continue reading

>roadmap of my brain, path of my thoughts

>My face feels flushed. I am not sure what or where my thoughts are hanging out, or where they want to go next. It seems that the same thoughts are wading in all… Continue reading

>Interesting is but what is not

>How we are initiated and manifested, we tend to do only as we remember. Different kinds of memories do we have, it seems. There is the personal and immediate memory, the one that… Continue reading

>the grace of every breathe

>Transcending temperamental, divided within indifferenceLearning and discerningMy needs beyond your competenceYou think I don’t knowYou think I can’t seeBut when words become a wishGone as quickly as a shooting starForgotten like blown out… Continue reading

>Ramadan blues

>First, I have to begin by saying that for the first time, I used this blog as a way to vent in a uncensored way. So I have to apologize ahead of time… Continue reading

>Almost here.

> My splitting headache has caused split personalities, which has caused a compounded happiness. Happiness multiplied by four dancing Samia Gamal’s.

>It helps

>… to move. It feels that while I am improving my quality of life, I am also taking this opportunity to simplify it. I am all packed up. I feels like my packed… Continue reading

>The cortisone to my sunburn

>The truth is that amidst the setting of our hearts we continue to deconstruct our perfectionism, in which we both suffer endlessly within. Finally, we now moderate the ordinances of our lives. The… Continue reading

Heartbeats, exploding stars, and aluminum foil

>I keep forgetting to buy aluminum foil from the grocery store. It distracts me in thought, but escapes me when I am shopping. “A heartbeat on an ultrasound looks like a little flashing… Continue reading

>"single" as a state of mind

>When you think of a single lady, what do you think about? Independence? Strength? Slut? Loneliness? Unmarried? White? Black? Fat? Skinny? Professional? When we think of being single, we think of being unmarried… Continue reading

>obstruct and facilitate

>A lot has changed for me lately, and I don’t feel the same anymore. I usually dance with the present and hope for the future. I used to say that I never regretted… Continue reading

>soy foam, rain and portland

> The rain is falling. Sometimes quickly, slowing down intermittently and finding a balance amidst what is generally considered surface existence. It comes without notice, catches you and changes a moment that was… Continue reading

>doing what I need, needing what I do.

>Basically, I have been adjusting a lot lately. This type of flexibility and adjustment is really making me tired. I just watch my limited local channel cable and pass out on the evenings… Continue reading

>The only reason.

>I could see why many people get married and have kids. For a long time I didn’t understand why, sometimes I still don’t. I am going to put this realization in writing so… Continue reading

11th day of Ramadan

>Ramadan has so far been the best month of fasting I have had in my life. I feel that when I was younger, I didn’t the same sense of purpose as I do… Continue reading