During this difficult time of uncertainty, I believe we can learn so much from the resilience of people living in conflict areas. I'm therefore delighted to share with you my TEDx Talk: The Other Side of Yemen's War which I gave last month at the University of Berkeley, California. I discuss the other side of Yemen's… Continue reading TEDx Talk: The Other Side of Yemen’s War
“We’re going to wash her body now,” wrote my sister on WhatsApp. I put down the phone and paced the room. I wanted to be there. I fucking wanted to wash her body like I had promised my grandmother I would. I still remember that day very vividly. With qat in one hand and a… Continue reading Until we meet again, Mama Sayida
Last week, we visited one of the biggest and oldest abbeys in northern France. Three monks founded the first Benedictine abbey along the River in the 7th century. Ruins like this abbey often brought me great pleasure. A testament to the triumph of architectural creativity over time. Yet now I can't help but think of recent war-torn… Continue reading Ruins
== Some words that enrage me == Technical Error (who’s error?) A stray bullet (who made it go astray?) A house collapsed (did it collapse on its own?) Collateral damage (synonym: their death is irrelevant because they don't matter). Word choices aren't just a matter of taste, they can be a deliberate political decision to… Continue reading Semantics matter
This started off as a drawing of colorful Yemeni houses to hang in my daughter Lilia's room. Then, it quickly turned into an anti-war poster.
First published in laformoisie . In her high pitched toddler voice, my daughter asked: “A-maan?” as she pointed to a photograph above our dining table. “Aywa habeebati, that’s Yemen,” I nodded and then planted five wet kisses on each cheek. In that moment I felt pride akin to someone watching her child graduate. However a moment later, she… Continue reading A hug, please?
I shut my eyes so I don't see living skeletons, of momentarily dead bodies. I convince myself that it’s not cowardice, but responsibility; my toddler deserves a mentally healthy mom. I allow myself to hide, and I persuade myself to live, even as infants inhale their last breath of oxygen and rubble.