I have started reading This Bridge Called My Back. Flipping through different sections, reading some poetry, letters, poetic prose. I like collections in that I can skip around, pick from this section or that section or maybe not read the entire book. I don’t feel committed. And This Bridge Called My Back is a collection of radical women of color sharing their experiences and thoughts and histories and herstories in the world. In the world of feminism. In the world of patriarchy. In the world of colonization. And still, I do not see any hint of a voice from my women.
Too often Middle Eastern women are left out when discussions of women of color arise. In fact, Middle Eastern men are left out when conversations about people of color arise. Where are those voices? Why are we not asked to share our stories?
Like other people of color, we come in different shades and hues and we speak different languages and different dialects of the same languages and we Middle Eastern women (and men) operate in colonized and patriarchical worlds too. We have experiences that can be shared. Voices that long to be heard, and not just in books about Islam or veiling or oil or wars or terrorism or Hollywood’s representations of us. We have radical histories and women like Fatima and Zainab and Zulaykha and Khadija (pbut) and we have women today who carry on those traditions who fought in revolutions and continue to fight for their people.
And we have struggled here and been radical and do struggle and are radical here, in the US. These fights do not just take place back home.
Maybe it is time for a new collection. Maybe it is time for all of our voices.