Books and bombs: How I healed myself through fiction

Writing has not only been cathartic for Atiaf Alwazir, it also transports her to Yemen every day - not to the Yemen we see on TV, but to the Yemen she remembers First published on Middle East Eye. For my ninth birthday, my aunt bought me a colourful scented diary with a lock and two… Continue reading Books and bombs: How I healed myself through fiction

Essays, Uncategorized

The migration narrative must change – and that begins with the media

Mainstream media’s coverage of refugees and migrants has had unintentional consequences. While media helped raise awareness of important issues that require rapid response such as Europe’s forgotten dead, their over-emphasis on negative stories about migrants, especially while using sensationalist headlines, has led to their dehumanization. In an attempt to highlight injustices, media have unintentionally branded… Continue reading The migration narrative must change – and that begins with the media

Blog, Essays

On turning 14,609 days old

“Life really does begin at forty. Up until then, you are just doing research.” — Carl G. Jung I lied about my age many times, sometimes purposefully but other times unintentionally. Up until last year, when people asked me how old I was, I often froze. It wasn’t an answer that came naturally to me.… Continue reading On turning 14,609 days old


On the healing powers of fiction in times of war

*This essay is based on a talk I gave on art in times of conflict. I would like to start by paying tribute to all the artists currently living in conflict areas, breathing life into spaces filled with blood. I’m in awe of their work and inspired by the opportunity they carve out in the… Continue reading On the healing powers of fiction in times of war


Keeping Yemen Alive

First published on La Formoisie I wrote the word “Yemen” on the blackboard then asked my students: “What’s the first thing that comes to mind?” Confused faces stared back at me.  Few moments later a girl in the front row broke the silence and responded: “Famine”. “Ah, oui!” I heard someone else shout in the… Continue reading Keeping Yemen Alive


The Sitara

 First published on Laformoisie. This sitara decorated our wall in Sana'a, then Tunis and now Lille.  It desperately needs to be washed but I don't want to lose the bukhoor scent of a 'once upon a time' qat filled room.  I'm afraid that if the smell disappears or the colors lose their vibrancy, then I would be deprived of a lifeline… Continue reading The Sitara


It’s always time for the Tufruta

Imagine spending hours in an overcrowded unventilated room. No matter where you turn, your nose itches with confusion after involuntarily inhaling a mix of perfumed sweat, cigarettes, and incense.  Doesn't sound appealing, right? Well, that's how I felt at times when I was living in Yemen.  Yet now, I am saddened by the fact that I… Continue reading It’s always time for the Tufruta