Don’t date an Arab girl
She is harder to convince and more complex to understand
than the ones on the big screen that have convinced you of her delicate and timid nature
She is not oppressed, like those caricatures on the news
Her long, flowing hair has not grown dark and strong to guide your eyes to
Her curved figure, which exists not to twirl into shapes
so that she many enchant you to the beat of the Debke. The Arab girl is born
with a fire in her belly and has inherited the strength of her foremothers.
Don’t date an Arab girl for she carries the Middle East on her shoulders
Every war and every invasion pushes her to tears she fights back to replace
with a brave face for her brothers and sisters; starving, homeless and grieving.
Don’t date an Arab girl, she inspires revolutions with her passion and her protest
She will come home late because she stays amongst the dissenters until she can feel
the winds of change. Don’t fret, the Arab girl is protected from the cold
by the Kaffieh around her neck; she is the one sharing her last droplets of water
to quench the parched mouths, dried shouting for freedom in the midday sun.
Don’t date an Arab girl, she will fill your shelves and your mind with Qabbani, Said and Mahfouz.
The Euphrates, the Jordan and the Nile run through her veins.
The spirit of Cairo, Algiers and the West Bank satiate her heart.
Don’t date an Arab girl, you will too often hear her sigh in longing
for the sound of the Muezzin in the morning, the taste of ‘real’ olives,
the smell of freshly baked bread and for the feel of the sun’s rays to beat
gently on the nape of her neck in the late afternoon.
Do date her because you believe in her struggle, when you can match her passion
and feel her pain. Date her because you can hold her as she wavers
under the load she carries when the strength of her mothers’ does not suffice
For a moment.
This poem was inspired by the Arab women I know and the Arab women I don’t know but still look up to.