BintElNas: Web of Dreams


Introduction  |  Guest Producer Nadyalec  

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Participating in this community is a new thing for me. For most of my life I have lived in the US, and for the most part I grew up isolated not only from queer people, but also from Arabs. This has to do with the choices that my parents made when I was young and the choices that I made when I was older. It is not true of all of the contributors to this magazine; we are a diverse lot and I am glad of it. But that is my experience; the first true community of Arabs that I have known has been this community of queer Arab-world women and transexual men.

I've noticed a new thing with these friendships and this community, something that I have never experienced before, and that is the importance of dreams. It might have to do with the fact that some of my best beloveds, now, do not live on the same continent with me.

There are people who I love who I may never live to meet. In that context dreams are crucial.

Sometimes dreams are the only way for me to see these beloved faces in movement, to keep these friends in my daily life.

There is someone very dear to me, an Arab transexual man, who I met online while I was living in the U.S. and he was living in Bahrain. We've never been on the same continent and I don't know that we ever will be. At one point, around a year after I had begun a series of passionate phone conversations with him, I didn't hear from him for longer than usual and had the feeling that something was wrong. When he contacted me, he told me that he had just returned home from three days in the hospital. During that time he had vividly dreamed of me.

This broke my heart and filled me with awe. Broke my heart because I could not be with him when he was sick and in trouble; filled me with awe because I had been. Despite the geographical distance, despite the impossibility of doing something as basic and necessary as sitting next to his hospital bed and holding his hand, he had brought me with him into that room. It's difficult for me to even try to describe what this meant and continues to mean to me; all the hair on my body stands up still when I think of it. I couldn't be there with him, but through his dreams I was.

I was thinking of him when I decided that the first theme of this magazine would be a web of dreams; I was thinking about literal dreams, about their importance in crossing these literal distances, these oceans.

I was also thinking about another sort of dream. Dream meaning passionate desire, fought for with mind, body, soul and all other available resources; the political dreams, the deep hungers, the needs that unite us.

We are so different. I come up against that, we come up against that, over and over. We have different lives and different experiences; we have different languages and different ideals. Sometimes it seems that the main thing that unites us is the same thing that divides us, an intensity of emotion, frequent unwillingness to compromise, passion. Last summer I attended a gathering of queer Arab-world women and our loves, and I sometimes felt that I was drowning in intensity; it was almost too much, I was drowning in the eyes. None of us ever seem to blink when we are together, have you noticed that? We are carnivorous in our desire. For each other's company; beyond that for each other's recognition, approval, love. So many of us have deep loneliness from years of not being fully seen by the families we were born to and the families we have found. We need each other now; we need to see our reflections in each other's passionate eyes.

So this is a dream, this magazine. A dream, a hope, that wants to be a promise. A dream to draw in those who have never yet seen the words "I do not imagine me," who have never met another queer Arab woman, who struggle with the weight of so many words saying that we are impossible, mythological, a contradiction in terms, that we cannot exist. A dream to make those of us who grow tired and sad laugh suddenly, in surprise and delight, relief and recognition. A dream to continue the community that brave and hopeful women have already created through hard work, compassion, argument, love. A dream of more late-night conversations to leave us bleary-eyed but sated in the morning; a dream of more love affairs to unite physical and soul-felt passion; a dream of more deep-felt arguments; a dream of more. A web cast across oceans and distance and the synaptic gaps of different languages, ideas, cultures. Fragile as spider-silk and strong as anything in the world.

A web of dreams.

See Nadyalec's Web site, i do not imagine me


All illustrations and writing Copyright 1999 The Author except where otherwise noted.
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