Alexandrian Queen

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1.Where are you from?

“I am from Alexandria, Egypt, a Mediterranean city that was deemed the capital of Egypt during the Hellenistic civilization. The city  continued on to be the economic center during Roman & Byzantine Empires. This ceased during Muslim conquest with Cairo now serving as the replacement for Egypt’s capital. Aside from the boring, iconic historical facts, Alexandria is one of the most beautiful and underrated cities in Egypt.”

2. What are your aspirations?

“Around the age of ten many of my goals were centered around one in particular, that is to be independent. I know this sounds too general and mundane, but to me independence means freedom. There’s a certain power and control of one’s self and life that is only accomplished when one declares his/her own independence from people, ties, stereotypes and expectations.”

3. What do you miss about Alexandria?

“I know this is going to sound weird, but whenever I close my eyes and my thoughts wander back to Alexandria, I can smell the fresh seaside, hear the outrageous  car horns, and see the people selling ice cream, shawerma, and fresh grilled corn. I miss it all. I miss walking by the Mediterranean with my two best friends that mean the world to me. I miss the people, their reckless childish smiles that somehow contrast their tired, hopeful eyes. One thing about Egyptians is, even if there’s war on the border, they’re still smiling, playing music, hopeful, and happy. I’m trying not to be biased, which I am, but Egyptians are probably the most welcoming,  and funniest people you would ever meet.”

4. What do you love about America?

“Being here means meeting all these people that come from different parts of the world. I am here because I love learning about their culture and exposing them to mine. I really am enjoying the similarities that could be found between people of very diverse geographical locations. It keeps me aware and open minded to the concept of being humans in search of success and happiness, but the methods we use to achieve such things are quite the opposite.”

5. What is great about being Arab? And what are your thoughts on anti-Arab sentiment?

“Being an Arab is very interesting. Arabs are a group of people that are referred to Arabs not because of their race but because of their language. Being an Arab is something I hold to heart and have much pride about. Everything from the interesting history behind what groups us together, the art, architecture, music, and our artistic/scientific influence in Europe is wondrous. The language is also incomparable (one of my favorite things about Arabic the style of poetry and its artistic use). The poets Al-Mutannabi and Kais EbnEl Molawah have all emerged from our world.”

“People have these negative views on Arabs when they’re the reason so advances were made by them and continue to be. We were at the forefront of contributing to subjects like mathematics, astronomy, medicine, calligraphy, and philosophy. Being born Arab is one thing that makes me strong, my culture has influenced my life in such a way that is unique. Arabs, especially recently, have to fight battles (not just physically), they are strong people who are discriminated against, negatively stereotyped. Being an Arab woman has made everything I am today. I wouldn’t have learned the value of everything I had to fight for and not take for granted.”

“My family and I have faced a lot of direct racism here. I only categorize hate statements as racism. Being unaware, or asking questions never bother me. I try my best not to blame the people who choose not to think critically and skeptically or believe the media’s representation of Arabs. Educating people and speaking to people who are interested is more effective as a method to reduce hate. Oh, and just being a good human being to those who just feel the need to hate. I believe that the world is going through a hard time. However, it does hit a sore spot how people who are unaffected by war would complain while Arabs themselves are the ones whose homes, lives, and identities are destroyed. Our people, they turn into refugees everyday. I am not able to comprehend how people hate refugees. Being titled “refugee” is a show of bravery and hopefulness. Imagine having you’re life taken away all of a sudden! These people still choose to start over even when all they had and knew has disappeared.”

6. And how are you as a woman looking to be successful? It could be in terms of yourself or in terms of a career. Do you have any goals that would reduce the inequity between men and women?

“My goal is to be a woman that is proud to maintain her identity while accomplishing her goals. I don’t want to have any fear putting myself in positions of leadership. I want to help women who were in similar situations as me. The western world confuses our oppression. They believe it is our religion (most notably the hijab), which is not true. The real oppression lies in the ignorance and illiteracy of the people. Only societal norms, sexism, and stagnant thoughts are what oppress us. I want to be a current that changes that type of mindset. I want to be support for middle eastern females who have dreams and provide them opportunities to be accomplished. I want to be a successful entrepreneur, activist, and author so that I would be able deliver messages and influence people not only like me, but get the stubborn to relinquish their ideals.”

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