We are just who we are. One other record of mine helped tremendously as I wrote the book: I was warned, in both Syria and Palestine, that foreign teachers had lost their jobs, presumably when it became known they were having gay relationships, but I felt no need to form intimate relationships. Your memoir covers a period spanning almost 40 years and occasionally includes excerpts from journals you kept at the time. Besides referring to your journals, how else were you able to reconstruct a story that began decades ago?
And how did writing help you counter that? Lesbianism is due to a vapor which, condensed, generates in the labia heat and an itch which only dissolve and become cold through friction and orgasm. US citizens do not distinguish these cultures because for the most part they do not make an effort to understand them. The tension between kindness and control forces Moore to confront the realities of the Arab world, allowing her to relate it, its people and its customs in a way far truer than any of the headlines from which Americans typically glean their stereotypes about Muslims. After work, and late into the night, I would stay at the university and write emails to an increasing number of people, beginning in the year , when the Israeli military presence was increasingly felt in the West Bank, through the invasion of the West Bank cities in April As Moore grows closer to her woodworking mentor, he begins to treat her as his daughter, imposing traditional, patriarchal limits on her behavior. Do you want to read the rest of this article? They may travel through countries as tourists but learn little. But although in my own country I felt a need to be out and to speak up in order to work for rights for all of us, in Arab countries I felt strongly that this was not my role. Returning to Egypt in the s, I worked for two years in an institute in the American University in Cairo where a number of the teachers were gay. The root of these words s-h-q means "to pound" as in spices or "to rub," so that lesbians sahiqat , like the Greek tribades, are literally those who engage in a pounding or rubbing behavior or who make love by pounding or rubbing. As an American, a woman, a feminist and a lesbian, did you have any trepidations about traveling to Egypt for the first time in ? Writing has always helped me to think through situations, to understand myself better, and to make sense of things. I think most Palestinians, having lost land, most means of making a living and shorn of age-old community resources, shared the view that education was their best chance at realizing their potential as individuals and as a people. As for differences, Palestinians, at least up to the last 15 years or so, I believe valued education more than Egyptians did. Without these records, I could not have written the book that I did. I answered that I was your everyday garden-variety lesbian. Both are proud of their heritage. Afterward, several of the women in the Institute mentioned to me more than once how much they had liked them. Also, because Israel does not allow Palestinians a sustainable economy, Palestinians are in the position of having to depend on outside sources for jobs. How was she able to recount pivotal events from decades past? What were her expectations prior to first arriving in Egypt? Article continues after advertisement Arvind Dilawar: I did not expect that I would be able to work with men, much less alone with men in a shop, and I did not expect that I would be able to work with my hands. Galen, the second-century Greek physician whose own daughter was a lesbian, according to medieval Arabic writers, is supposed to have examined his daughter's labia and surrounding veins and to have concluded that her lesbianism was due to "an itch between the major and minor labia" that could be soothed only by rubbing them against another woman's labia. What do you believe is the relationship between Islam and homophobia? I was confronting myself—really, my own self-centeredness, self-doubt, and tendency to depression.
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