Ethnicity and Gender Defined

I am an Arab woman.

I do not know where my story begins.

I am an Arab woman

Who belongs

To a brother,

A father, a husband

Or even a son.

They mean everything to me,

They are my society.



I am an Arab woman:

Society stones me

For tarnishing a man’s honor.

It has the right to stab me

With a sharp dagger

To make things better.


I am an Arab woman,

My gender defines me,

My body shames me

But I was taught

How to hide it.


I am an Arab woman and I am strong

Like my mother

Who sacrificed her happiness,

And like my grandmother who didn’t

Know happiness -

Because happiness wasn’t imported back then.


I am an Arab woman despite all

The poison that I drank,

And I am proud of my heritage,

I am proud of my name

That is not on any family tree -

Because I’m Arab woman and I have dreams

That were handed down to me.


I am an Arab woman and I was promised

Diamonds and parties,

Crystal chandeliers;

Dreams of beautiful off-spring

And a man

On the periphery.


I am an Arab woman,

Do not fear me:

I speak the words

You want to hear,

I write stories

You want to believe.


I am an Arab woman,

I do not know where my story begins,

And where your story ends.

I do not think,

I do not offend.

I tread lightly,

I do not upset.

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