Posts in Essays
Silence in Iraqi Women’s Storytelling

By Shawk Alani

I learned from my grandmother and other Iraqi women in the small but growing diaspora community in the mid-1990’s in the Emirates that the telling and retelling of a collected repertoire of life events is a significant process. I learned that a life story can be found in singular moments and daily rituals. I also learned that it is a process both personal and communal, and always profound. The significance of the act of remembering people and their journeys was in the wisdoms and instructions and information inserted into retold life events. Telling life stories in Iraqi women’s gatherings enlisted a sacred attention in me that was simultaneously unimposing and unwavering. Enshrined between the syntax of words and storylines I found the power of memory, recitation, performance, and curation in the reproduction of life through stories.

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