My Q&A with Homeland Hacker Heba Amin Published by Al Jazeera!

Heba Amin Photo

Heba Amin, an Egyptian visual artist, Karam, an Egyptian-German artist, and Don painted Arabic graffiti on the set of Showtime’s series Homeland [Al Jazeera]

To read the article on Al Jazeera’s site, click here.

Homeland hacker challenges media portrayals of Muslims

Visual artist Heba Amin discusses the thin line between news and entertainment and making a point through humour.

When the German publisher Don Karl approached Heba Amin, an Egyptian visual artist and researcher, to paint Arabic graffiti on the set of Showtime’s series Homeland, her initial impulse was to decline, as others had before her.

She rejected what she viewed as the programme’s orientalism and its framing of diverse peoples from South and West Asia as monolithic evildoers.

But then she reconsidered. What if she could use the moment to spark a dialogue?

So, in collaboration with her colleagues, Karam, an Egyptian-German artist, and Don, she did just that.


My Radio Interview on Uprising: Anti-Arab Racism & Orientalism in Homeland & Quantico


Uprising host Sonali Kolhatkar interviewed me about my article on the Orientalism in Quantico and the subversive Arabic graffiti art on Homeland. Listen to the interview here.

Claims by Palestinian American Poet Lisa Suhair Majaj

Today on September 11th, as Anti-Arab and Anti-Muslim racism swells around the world, a dose of reality by my friend and colleague Lisa Suhair Majaj. Her poem “Claims,” published in Geographies of Light, is read by yours truly in the video below, which was filmed at the Markaz Evening of Middle Eastern Storytelling on September 9th. The written version follows.

Claims by Lisa Suhair Majaj

I am not soft, hennaed hands,
a seduction of coral lips;
not the enticement of jasmine musk
through a tent flap at night;
not a swirl of sequined hips,
a glint of eyes unveiled.
I am neither harem’s promise
nor desire’s fulfillment.

I am not a shapeless peasant
trailing children like flies;
not a second wife, concubine,
kitchen drudge, house slave;
not foul-smelling, moth-eaten, primitive,
tent -dweller, grass-eater, rag-wearer.
I am neither a victim
nor an anachronism.

I am not a camel jockey, sand nigger, terrorist,
oil-rich, bloodthirsty, fiendish;
not a pawn of politicians,
nor a fanatic seeking violent heaven.
I am neither the mirror of your hatred and fear,
nor the reflection of your pity and scorn.
I have learned the world’s histories,
and mine are among them.
My hands are open and empty:
the weapon you place in them is your own.

I am the woman remembering jasmine,
bougainvillea against chipped white stone.
I am the laboring farmwife
whose cracked hands claim this soil.
I am the writer whose blacked-out words
are birds’ wings, razored and shorn.
I am the last one who flees,
and the lost one returning;
I am the dream, and the stillness,
and the keen of mourning.

I am the wheat stock, and I am
the olive. I am plowed fields young
with music of crickets,
I am ancient earth struggling
to bear history’s fruit.
I am the shift of soil
where green thrusts through,
and I am the furrow
embracing the seed again.

I am many rivulets watering
a tree, and I am the tree.
I am opposite banks of a river,
and I am the bridge.
I am light shimmering
off water at night,
and I am the dark sheen
that swallows the moon whole.

I am neither the end of the world
nor the beginning.

I’m Reading Sept 9th @TheMarkazLA–Come Join Us!

Markaz storytelling

Come on out next week for a night of Middle Eastern storytelling! I’ll be reading a new essay about my last name and how it relates to being Arab American and mixed. Plus, we’re going to dance the dubke! Details below:

I’m Reading at Expressing Motherhood–Buy Your Tix Now! #exmoshow

Expressing Motherhood*** UPDATE as of September 26th: Unfortunately, I won’t be able to participate this time around given a scheduling conflict. Stay tuned as I hope to participate in the future!

I’ve been chosen to be part of the cast of Expressing Motherhood! I’m going to read a piece from my memoir-in-progress about choosing to be childfree. The show is one night only–on Saturday, November 7th at 7:30PM at Spirit Studio in Silverlake. Tickets are on sale now and since it’s in a small setting it’s going to sell out fast…buy your tickets now by clicking here! They’re $25 each, but the show should be well worth the splurge!