Monday, December 6, 2010

I am a woman!

I wear the face veil. It's no secret. The reason for me wearing it has changed since I put it on. I do not wish to discuss the reasons simply because it's personal. But what I will discuss is the reactions I get from random people, mainly men, and how I rehearsed repeatedly how I will respond to those late 50 early 60 year old men when they throw their opinions of my worthlessness. I have also wondered why it matters to me that I show them they are wrong. The only thing I can think of is that while they call themselves intellectual they deny one of the main principles of intellect which is knowing that their truth is not ultimate. That is something I feel they need to know. So, I walked into a book store in the Club. A man sneezed in the line in front of me when we were waiting to pay. I told him bless you, in Arabic. "Yarhamakom Allah." Which literarly means May God have mercy on you. So he turned around to respond with the regular response, "And on you too." When he saw me he continued and may God have mercy on us all and rid us of the likes of you. "Wa yer7amna mennoko." A whole dialogue went on. It was a friendly one because I chose not to take his first comment to heart. His arguments were the typical, you will scare away the tourists. You are all ignorant. You are useless to the society. With each answer I gave him he would hear first what he wanted to hear. You will scare away the tourists. I said, "I won't affect the tourism, I want it to flourish." He answered, "what you don't want us to have tourism?" You are useless to society. "I am a writer, I work from home," I said. He responded what you think you have to stay home? Then came the final blow. You will not be equal to men. I said no I am equal to man, if not better. By the look on his face he thought I was crazy. I told him I can bear children but men can not. I have always admired Sojourner Truth, a feminist as well as civil rights activist. Specifically her Aint I a Woman speech. "...That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody every helps me into carriages or over mud puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man-when I could get it-and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirtheen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?.." I summed up the discussion by telling him, it is my personal right and freedom to wear what I want when I want. I can choose to show whoever I want my face or not. Equality, is thrown in our faces only when it suits most men. But when it comes down to it, most of the men who shake their heads at me and show their disgust with my choices want us to go back to those days. The days where women needed to be helped up carriages.


Amal Abdulghani said...

Hi Sarah i came to know of ur blog through a link you posted today on fb, loved ur I am a woman piece.. one word sums it all .. amazing! God bless you inshala :)

Sarah Elmeshad said...

Amal thank u very much! God bless u too!! :)

Anne Huffer said...

Sarah I love your writing. I remember asking your mom whether her covering was her choice or her husband's. We had an interesting conversation about it. What do you think of the French ban on the burka (sp?). STUPID! I think. :)

Sarah Elmeshad said...

Mrs. Huffer,
Thank you very much! Yeah it was my choice to wear not the type who would comply to orders easily and my husband isnt the type to give them :)...
The burqa ban is crazy....but ironic...while they wanted to distance themselves from saudi and irani fanatics they have actually been grouped with them as one of the few countries which imposes dresscode on women! Its horrible!
I hope youre well!
:) sarah

Sheik Shaker said...

Dear Sarah
I'd love to see you more assertive as you used to be when I knew you, in your elementary school. I love your writing. I stumbled on them through your email footnote. You used to say it as it is right there and then, not later on your post-blog!!!
You are a wonderful example of an assertive conservative Muslim women.
Please tell men and women who like to judge and make suggestions based on their own worldviews that you have your worldview made up, and if they do not like it, they should keep their views for themselves and their likes. Please read the last few Ayat's of Surat Al Mutaffefeen. They are telling. Especially how Allah cares for our feelings when other make their judgments as final against ours and they also want to impose it on us!!!
So, please tell them:"Did I ask your opinion, Sir?" If you dont like it, look the other way, you will find a lot other people to advise.
I believe they need this "assertive" reply, not a respectful discussion. what do you think?