A Cairenegirl's Blog

February 23, 2018

Feminist Spotlight: Joanna Kadi

Filed under: Uncategorized — CaireneGirl @ 6:47 pm

Like a Whisper

It is hard to describe Kadi’s work’s profound impact on the discussion of the interconnectedness of oppressions from joannakadichildhood experiences forward. Her work addresses, sexual violence, class oppression on the left and the right, homophobia, zenophobia, anti-Arab sentiment and Orientalism from popular culture to written texts, and the ways these are taught and internalized by children, college students, intellectuals, marginalized peoples, etc. Her gift is in the searing lyricism of her prose, be it fictional or analytical, and the intensity of her poems.

The first time I read her book Thinking Class, her descriptions of working class Catholicism and the fate of poor children born on the wrong side of town left me speechless and heartbroken for the children of my own neighborhood who did not make it out. In a world where my students often lament the loss of critiques of classism and elitism outside of discussions of global…

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November 27, 2017

Monia Mazigh

Filed under: Uncategorized — CaireneGirl @ 5:22 am


Interviewed by Zehra Naqvi

Monia Mazigh is an author, human rights advocate, and an academic. She was born and raised in Tunisia and immigrated to Canada at the age of 21. She has a PhD in finance from McGill University, ran in the federal elections in 2004 as an NDP candidate, and was the National Coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group between 2015 and 2016. She lives in Ottawa.

In 2002, her husband, Maher Arar was arrested and deported to Syria. He was tortured and held for over a year without charge. Mazigh entered the public eye as she campaigned tirelessly for his release. In 2008, she published her first book, Hope and Despair, a memoir about the ordeal of releasing her husband and clearing his name.

In 2014, she published her first novel, Mirror and Mirages, which follows the lives of six different Muslim women living…

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July 4, 2017

Tawfiq Hakim’s Sparrow from the East

Filed under: Uncategorized — CaireneGirl @ 11:52 pm

Arab Hyphen

BirdfromtheEastTawfik Hakim’s Sparrow From the East, published in 1938, is an early example of a narratives in which Arab characters visit Europe. In the first chapter, when Andre discovers Muhsin, the sensitive art-loving hero, eating dates in the streets of Paris, he calls him “sparrow from the East,” and the East/West divide is established. Later on, Andre and his wife tease Mushin about the woman he describes as his beloved, asking “is she from a thousand and one nights or Paris?” Exasperated by Muhsin’s sitting in the café gazing at his beloved in the ticket booth, Andre says, “I can’t spend my life sitting like this…you Easterners don’t know the meaning of time.” Muhsin responds, “We have been freed of it.”

Muhsin easternizes himself too, towards the end when his beloved leaves him, he asks why she didn’t tell him the rules of the game from the start…

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April 19, 2017

weeks in review: a release, an arrest, a discovery and 2 belly-dancing

Filed under: Uncategorized — CaireneGirl @ 6:03 pm

hakawi from the east - حكاوى من الشرق

Early April [2-4, 2017], the Egyptian president visited the US  and his visit included Egyptians standing  on both sides of the street, waving flags and greeting him as his convoy passed in Washington DC. He was in the States to ask for the US president’s financial and military support for which he only received promises of cooperation. Social media made fun of some of the images that surfaced of his infamous meeting with the US president in which they spoke of collaboration against terrorism. One image in particular showed the US president sitting at his desk in the Oval Office with the Egyptian president standing by his side – contrary to all protocols where both presidents should either be seated or standing up. The US president himself tweeted the pictures.

In the Oval Office

The Coptic Church also, prior to the explosions of the two churches in Tanta and Alexandria…

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March 14, 2017

AUCPress, Hoopoe Fiction, and Learning to Change Directions ‘Under Duress’

Filed under: Uncategorized — CaireneGirl @ 7:25 am

Arabic Literature (in English)

It was a year ago that Arabic-publishing stalwart AUC Press launched their new imprint for “engaged, open-minded readers,” Hoopoe Fiction:

At this year’s inaugural Dubai International Publishing Conference, held on March 5 and 6, AUC Press Sales and Marketing Director Trevor Naylor spoke about how the press, based at the American University in Cairo, learned to change directions “under duress.”

Before the events of January 2011, the majority of AUC Press business was not in its extensive line of Arabic fiction translated into English. Instead, it was selling to the country’s tourists. Indeed, AUC Press’s local distribution was formidable, and books could be found at hotels and tourist destinations all across Egypt. However, after January 25, 2011, that market crashed.

“Eighty percent of AUC Press business was settled in one market and overnight we lost it,” Naylor said to the publishing-conference audience.

Up until that point, Naylor said, “We hadn’t really…

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March 12, 2017

James Graham Ballard: What I Believe

Filed under: Uncategorized — CaireneGirl @ 7:50 am

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Untitled-1 Source: jgballard.ca

I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen.

I believe in my own obsessions, in the beauty of the car crash, in the peace of the submerged forest, in the excitements of the deserted holiday beach, in the elegance of automobile graveyards, in the mystery of multi-storey car parks, in the poetry of abandoned hotels.

I believe in the forgotten runways of Wake Island, pointing towards the Pacifics of our imaginations.

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June 4, 2016

My Bennu

Filed under: Creative Writing,Uncategorized — CaireneGirl @ 8:02 am

There’s a bird I see, sometimes when I walk the dog, it looks like a heron. Long saffron flamingo legs, white cotton grey bodice, two crested feathers on the back of her head, a yellow long beak. I am not a bird watcher. I don’t know birds, but the Bennu has always been a part of my life. I have taken photos of her on my phone to prove to myself that she’s there, that I haven’t imagined her. I sometimes glance outside the window and look for her, but I rarely see her behind the glass, I have to physically go out. Then, there she is, going about her business, hopping from grass, to branch, to Sycamore tree searching for a worm or a small mouse.

Each departure my heart sinks, the separation feeling like hundreds of years, without guarantees of return, without promises, a frolic, a skip and off she flies – leaving me behind. Where are you going? Do they need you as much as I do? Don’t leave. Stay. As if I could tame a Bennu, or entice a deity with any of my mundane capacities, food, water, shelter. There is nothing I can provide that isn’t in abundance all over the world. I hope, I pray, I beg, for it to find the need to return to my insignificant little patch of jade. I am impatient, and the longer I wait, the more apathetic I turn, hating her power over me, drowning in my own head, and deciding to be blind to all the beauty around me. At my lowest, on an insignificant day, with the rising of the sun, she surprisingly reemerges. From the ashes, I carve soothings words that revitalize my soul. I write stories of the Bennu, for the Bennu, so she can stay. She speaks to me.

I am both the regal ruby gold phoenix and I am the goliath grey heron. I am, sometimes more one, than the other. I am, the exciting fiery deity, the rising sun, soaring, my loud cries undeniable. I am transforming air, time and space into floods of life. I am also the small, common two toned grey heron, perched outside your window, smiling at your confusion, reminding you of the beauty of the drab, the magic of the ordinary, and the importance of being both.

In order to fly forward you must forget about the two feather crest on the back of your head.

July 21, 2014

Joe Linker: Waiting for Marjane

Filed under: Uncategorized — CaireneGirl @ 1:32 am

тнє ѕυℓтαη'ѕ ѕєαℓ


I was roaming around Eastside industrial with my notebook, waiting for Lily to get off work, when a sudden squall forced me into a crowded, steamy coffee joint. And who should be sitting at the window drawing in her notebook but my old friend Daisy.

We had been part-timers teaching at the now defunct Failing school and played on the co-ed slow-pitch softball team. Part-time meant we taught summer terms, too, while the full-timers went on vacation. But that was fine because she was an artist and I was a poet. After a few years the scene went to seed and we drifted off and found real jobs.

I got a coffee and sat down with Daisy. She had a book by the Iranian writer Marjane Satrapi (who now lives in Paris). “It’s a comic book,” I said, picking it up and thumbing through it. “Sort of,” Daisy said…

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June 7, 2014

Elif Shafak – The 40 Rules of Love

Filed under: Uncategorized — CaireneGirl @ 11:59 am

Ramblings of the Disoriented Mind

Rule 1
How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.

Rule 2
The path to the Truth is a labour of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge and ultimately prevail over your nafs (self, psyche, soul) with your heart. Knowing your ego will lead you to the knowledge of God.

Rule 3
You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for him: in the heart…

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October 7, 2013

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling as Image Macros

Filed under: Uncategorized — CaireneGirl @ 11:22 pm



Back in 2011, then Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats (now freelancing) tweeted 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar. Coats learned the ‘guidelines’ from senior colleagues on how to create appealing stories, tweeting the nuggets of wisdom over a 6 week period.

Last week, artist and User Experience Director at Visceral Games (a subsidiary of Electronic Arts), Dino Ignacio, created a series of image macros of the 22 rules and posted them to Imgur and Reddit.

Below you will find the list of image macros along with a text summary of Pixar’s 22 rules of storytelling at the end of the post. Enjoy!

[Sources: Emma Coats, Dino Ignacio, The Pixar Touch]



pixar's 22 rules of storytelling as image macros (2)

Written by Emma Coats | @lawnrocket
Image Macro by Dino Ignacio | @DinoIgnacio



pixar's 22 rules of storytelling as image macros (3)

Written by Emma Coats | @lawnrocket
Image Macro by Dino Ignacio | @DinoIgnacio



pixar's 22 rules of storytelling as image macros (4)


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