A couple of weeks ago Jill asked me to guest blog for a bit. I’m guessing she was tired of me forwarding news articles that infuriated me to her and asking her to blog about them. So, here I am, blogging, live from Cairo, Egypt. A little background about me before I start my [hopefully] logical ramblings and rants: I’ve never blogged before, so my first time blogging on a fabulous feminist website is, oh, I don’t know, slightly intimidating. Bear with me as I get comfortable.
I’m, well, a confused feminist, but a feminist. Most of my “feminist education” comes from recreational reading (I just finished the bell hooks trilogy on love) and feminist blogs like this one. I’m still trying to work out the kinks of my own contradiction of a life, but I guess we’re all trying to do that at some level, no?
I just graduated from NYU in May, with a double major in Politics and Middle Eastern & Islamic studies. After a serious inner struggle with whether or not I wanted to commit to *dum, dum dum* law school, I decided a year off to figure myself was the best remedy. I’ve since decided that a Master’s [in Public Policy or International Affairs] is probably the best path for me, although I’m always, always in need of advice. I’m currently working in Cairo, at the American University in their Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement. The idea of the Center is basically to promote Arab philanthropy that is based on strategic efforts toward social change. Without pouring out my fabulous feelings about this job, I’ll tell you all this much: I absolutely adore it. I’m lucky enough to be doing some pretty interesting and fulfilling work helping to construct a welfare program (based on the idea of conditional cash transfers), working on a developing a larger literacy program for greater Cairo, working with Egyptian NGOs, and helping to engage Egyptian college students in learning about civic engagement and social responsibility. In short, I’m lucky enough to be working and living in Cairo after having just graduated from college. And, I’m pretty damn lucky that my job is sending me to Dubai in January to attend a conference on Middle East philanthropy. I just found that out, and all I can say is…rad. Feel free to check out photos of my life in Cairo and my former life in New York here.
I’m not Arab. Coming from an ethnically confused family, I’ve got Indian, Persian, Pakistani, Malay, and Chinese blood in me; unfortunately, for me, I can’t fluently speak any of these language [though, I’m fluent in French and pretty decent with Arabic]. I’m a Muslim. Though, I’d like to call myself a “liberal Muslim” even though that opens up a huge box of “what about this” and “how come you do that, but not this.” To complicate things a little further, my mother is Shia and my father is Sunni, so to say I grew up in a religious household would be…a slight understatement. For now, we’ll leave it as…a “liberal Muslim.”
I was born and grew up in the States [in both Texas and Georgia]. I majored in Politics and Middle Eastern & Islamic studies at NYU, and ideally, I’d like to go into some kind of human rights work within the Middle East [though, to be honest, I have no idea where my life is taking me at this point, and it kind of scares the crap out of me.
So…that’s my entire life story right there. If you haven’t fallen asleep, congrats. Hopefully my posts will be slightly more coherent and…hopefully, funny? [though, I must confess, I don’t think I’ll be nearly as witty as Jill or Zuzu].
A few sidenotes: I’m horrible with punctuation, though I’ll do my best. I’m not as prolific as I’d like to be, or hope to be. Feel free to ask questions, comment (please!), and criticize. I’m always looking to develop my own thoughts further, because at the current moment I feel like I’m a walking contradiction on many levels.
Mostly, though, I’m extremely excited to be guest blogging on one of my favorite feminist blogs. Thanks, Jill! I hope I can measure up to past guest bloggers and the lovely ladies of Feministe.