Thank you to all those who responded to my inquiry a few days ago in "Reflections on Blogging." I appreciate your taking the time to write. I thought it's better that I respond here:
Your post was not painful to read. In fact, it was a pleasure to read and gave me much to think about. I like that you like the blog for the reasons you give, which shows me that you are actually reading. I'm delighted that someone in your age group knows of Pete Seeger and like him. I never heard of him till I came to this country. But got hooked quickly. As to your suggestion that I put the blog on a lower hijab diet, I'd like to do that. Sometimes I can't. Hence, my frustration. More on this later. In what way I'm "secular"? I think what's relevant for this blog is that I'm secular in a political sense: separation of religion and state. Anything else becomes a distraction from the main point.
Thank you again, Arianne, and I hope you have a great senior year! Amal A
I appreciate your advice about burn out. It's a real threat, especially when one has a demanding day job and when the news are always bad. But I'll keep your words in mind and maybe I'll make some changes in my posting habits that may protect against, or delay, fatigue.
I'm really glad we met and that you made it to the blog. Thank you for your nice words. You may regret them later : ) but not matter what I'm looking forward to some great conversations. BTW, I've put the Wafa Sultan post on the side bar; I'm working on making the blog more user friendly, especially that I have over a thousand posts now. My tech know how is limited, but I'm getting better and better every day (ya right!).
Thanks for letting me know you're reading. I appreciate that. I also appreciate your advice about making connections between our struggles and those of people of color elsewhere. I'll try to do more of that, which is not going to help focus the blog. Yet, it might. Stuff on lesbian/queer issues will remain present since I believe it's an important part of a progressive Arab outlook. Some wonderful women have been working on creating a group like the one you envision. I'll email you more details.
Hi Sakura kiss,
There are many definitions of feminism; academics like to speak of "feminisms" to indicate that there isn't one single, simple view (and to acknowledge that feminists disagree with each other, sometimes radically). I'll let the blog speak for the kind of feminism I espouse (how is that for a cop out?). I should mention though that I'm not "only" a feminist.
Welcome to the blog. Ok. I'm going to be honest with you and say that I was a bit taken aback by your comment. I'm uncomfortable with your narrative of the past. I detect an "us" and "them" tone: Arab secular feminists vs. Muslim feminists or hijabi feminists? It sounded like it's "pay back" time : ) When I say that my work was labeled as that of an Islamic feminist, that was done by the same western feminist academics that always stereotyped Arab women: secular and nonsecular. I'm invisible to them the way you say you were invisible to them. Yes, recently there has been more interest in everything Islamic. Of course, this interest is still as problematic as that which emerged after the Iranian revolution in the 80s. It needs to be scrutinized. I will be talking about that at RAWI in May, anyway.
Here's a different narrative using our history from grad school: you and I met for the first time when you were a respondent to a panel on Arab women I presented a paper on. You, in other words, not only were included, but were given the "last" word, so to speak (and it was a good last word as I remember). Then you had a chapter in a book I co-edited about third world women (one of the strongest chapters in the book). Then I read one of your poems for the first time on the pages of Al Jadid Magazine, a secular Arab literary magazine. That's when I started teaching your poetry. And as I said to you the other day, I read one of your poems about 9/11 to conclude my course on Islam. I think we are talking about more than inclusion here. I prefer the word "solidarity."
While I think you have every right to criticize Arab secular feminists who "erased" you (I would like to hear more about the idiots who did that), I think it's important not to generalize. Don't make it sound that the shoe is on the other foot now. It may look like that, but it isn't.
Allah y3afeek. Thank you for all your comments and interventions. You did tell Loudy I'm a fan, right?