Food for Our Grandmothers: Writings by Arab-American and Arab-Canadian Feminists

By Joanna Kadi | Go to book overview

The Queen, Carcasses, and Other Things

J. A. KHAWAJA


1.

Whenever I travel back to my original home in the Caribbean I
go and sit by the big salt pond near the beach. It looks calm and
thoughtful like it always did, that is if a salt pond can look that
way. And I think of the cow everyone said walked too far out
into the pond. It drowned slowly trying to get back to the safety
of the shore. The bottom of the pond was quicksand. As a six‐
year-old child I couldn't imagine how something so thoughtful
would do that to a cow. Why doesn't someone get a bulldozer
and pull the cow out of the quicksand I wondered. Whose cow
is it anyway I asked. If it belonged to a white person something
would have been done I'm sure. I said to my mother who spoke
French. She learned it in Quebec. My mother who spoke English.
She learned it in a Canadian school. My mother who spoke
Arabic. She learned it from her mother. My mother the immigrant
whose dutiful silence I had decided made her an accomplice in
the death of a cow. My mother who is a woman.

And so I committed myself to try to imagine where the bulldozer
and crane could have positioned themselves so that they could
rescue the dead cow or any other cow or even person who
might meet the same fate. I went over the circumference of the
salt pond each Sunday that we went to the beach but could not
find a spot or place that would have made its rescue possible.
And even my father who was born there and who likes cows.
My father who could have saved the cow didn't. My father who
speaks English he learned in the Caribbean. My father who
doesn't speak Arabic. My father who is a West Indian Arab. My
father who is a colonizer. My father who paid no mind to the
death of the cow.

-39-

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Food for Our Grandmothers: Writings by Arab-American and Arab-Canadian Feminists
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Related Titles from South End Press *
  • Food for Our Grandmothers - Writings by Arab-American and Arab-Canadian Feminists *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments x
  • A Note about Arabic Terms xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Food for Our Grandmothers *
  • I - Olives Our Roots Go Deep: Where We Came from *
  • Olives 3
  • Recognized Futures 5
  • Sittee (on Phantom Appearances of a Lebanese Grandmother) 7
  • Great-Grandma Michael 18
  • Longing for Winter 21
  • Battling Nationalisms to Salvage Her History 24
  • For My Son Shaadi 30
  • Crossing over to the Other Side 32
  • The Queen, Carcasses, and Other Things 39
  • One Room 48
  • Chalked out 50
  • Unpicked Fruits 56
  • II - Bread a Basic Desire : Going Home *
  • Bread 63
  • Boundaries: Arab/American 65
  • Wherever I Am 87
  • Homecoming 94
  • Banned Poem 97
  • Peace is Tossed to the Wind 101
  • Moroccan Steam 104
  • She Makes Me Tea in Cairo 107
  • III - Thyme Growing against the Odds: Surviving the Gulf War *
  • Thyme 111
  • Amara 113
  • A Woman's Place is in the Struggle - A Personal Viewpoint on Feminism, Pacifism, and the Gulf War 114
  • Offensive Art by Palestinian Children - Anti-Arab Racism and the Gulf War Fallout on Campus 120
  • Military Presences and Absences - Arab Women and the Persian Gulf War 125
  • Gulf War 133
  • IV - Laban Silent Victims and Belly Dancers: (mis) Representations of Arab Women *
  • Laban 147
  • Say French 149
  • Global Sisterhood - Where Do We Fit In? 151
  • Tear off Your Western Veil! 160
  • Arab-Americans - Living with Pride and Prejudice 165
  • Exotic 168
  • The Arab Woman and I 170
  • The Arab Woman in U.S. Popular Culture - Sex and Stereotype 173
  • Orientalism in Science Fiction 181
  • V - Grapeleaves Tangled Identities: Claiming Ourselves *
  • Grapeleaves 189
  • A Lunatic from Libya, One Generation Removed 190
  • Going Home 192
  • What's Not in a Name 197
  • Browner Shades of White 204
  • On Language and Ethnicity 206
  • Mocking Civilization 210
  • Pulled 211
  • Abyss 214
  • Two Women Drinking Coffee 217
  • In Search of Home 218
  • Hairless in Gaza (or Plucking the Lines of Gender Difference) 224
  • Blood 226
  • VI - Mint Moving beyond Survival: Celebrating Who We Are *
  • Mint 229
  • ABC 230
  • Five Steps to Creating Culture 231
  • Camel Girl 238
  • Artist 241
  • A Blessing 244
  • Armenian/Lesbian - Telling out Stories 246
  • Mint, Jomatoes, and the Grapevine 250
  • VII - Appendix Arab Resources and Organizations *
  • The Image of Arabs in Sources of U.S. Culture 259
  • Organizations with an Arab-American/Arab-Canadian Focus 273
  • About the Contributors 275
  • Permissions 283
  • Index 285
  • About the Editor 289
  • About South End Press 290
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