Thursday, November 22, 2012

Huda Sha'rawi St.

The walk from home to school is short but it spans two neighborhoods. On the way the monotony of Jordan beige gets broken up by colorful garbage and fast red cars that will surely be splashing me with mud once the winter rains arrive. 

My roommates tell me not to take the scenic route after dark but it looks like djinn territory and I feel I am safe because I am shrouded in black like a little traveling cloud with not even the tiniest bit of red. They wouldn't want me even if they found me. Clearly a prude.

From the long road that overlooks the rolling hills that make me go "[Sigh] ya Allah I love Jordan" I take Huda Sha'rawi St. down to the neighborhood. 

Huda and I go way back. I first heard about her in Intermediate II Arabic, by means of an Al-Kitaab reading assignment made especially painful by my inability to understand the meaning of the words that I am struggling to correctly decline.

Huda was a champion. She fought for the rights, education and welfare of women and children. There was also this one time in 1923 that she removed her hijab in public as an act of defiance and it went down in history as a pivotal moment for Egyptian feminism. I understood very little of the text as a whole, but my teacher translated that last part.

He didn't translate any of that other stuff she did when she wasn't de-veiling on trains.

So as a new hijabi, I felt it was my duty to make inappropriate mutters of disapproval whenever we read about Huda.

...way to go Sharawi.
Thanks for making me look like an oppressed douchebag."

Needless to say, nobody appreciated my attempt to interact with the text, not on the outside, probably not on the inside.

But Huda, I kept you with me.
I know you're watching over me when I walk up your creepy street, barely breathing from the uphill incline, thankful that my veil is hiding the signs of distress on my face.

And I feel you watching over me as I try to make light of my increasingly complicated sartorial situation and in the process, create more of a barrier between myself and other people that the "hijab" ever was in the first place.

Ok Huda. You win. This is serious stuff.

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