Keen to continue her studies abroad, Hayat Sindi told her father some good news: She had been accepted at a prestigious university in London. Her traditional Muslim father said it would tarnish the family name for a young woman to live overseas alone. “He told me, ‘Over my dead body,’” Sindi recalls. Still, she persuaded him, and off she went to England.
The truth is, she hadn’t been accepted at any university. When she landed in London as a teenager in 1991, she says, she spoke only Arabic, no English. “My first night there, I went to a youth hostel,” she says. “I was in an attic room. I panicked. I looked at my plane tickets—my father had bought a return ticket. I thought, I’ll go home tomorrow.” Instead she went to an Islamic cultural center and got a translator to help her meet with college officials. “They told me, ‘You’re crazy,’” she says. “I was naive. I thought they would just let me in.”
After a year spent cramming on English and studying to pass the “A-levels,” the U.K.’s college-admission courses, she got herself in to King’s College, where she graduated in 1995 with a degree in pharmacology. She went on to get a Ph.D. in biotechnology from Cambridge in 2001. She says her family didn’t learn about her lie until years later, when they were surprised to hear her mention it in a speech.
“My father was worried that, when I lived abroad alone, I would ruin the family honor,” she says. But in time he boasted to the neighbors, like any proud father. “When he died,” she says, “I found newspaper clippings about me under his pillow.”
Sindi is known in scientific circles for her “social innovation,” as she calls it, such as co-founding a group at Harvard to develop a new technique for using tiny, cheap slips of paper and a drop of blood or saliva to diagnose liver disease, and perhaps eventually AIDS—potentially replacing costly lab tests. The technology, while still being tested, has the potential to save lives across the developing world.
amazing. simply inspiring.
'Tell me what happens the first time you see a woman naked.'
'The first time you see a woman naked will not be like you imagined. There will be no love, no trust, no intimacy. You won’t even be in the same room as her.
You won’t get to smile as she undresses you and you undress her. You won’t get to calm her nerves with nerves of your own. You won’t get to kiss her, feeling her lips and the edge of her tongue. You won’t get to brush your fingers over the lace of her bra or count her ribs or feel her heartbeat.
The first time you see a woman naked you will be sitting in front of a computer screen watching someone play at intimacy and perform at sex. She will contort her body to please everyone in the room but her. You will watch this woman who is not a woman, pixelated and filtered and customized. She will come ready-made, like an order at a restaurant. The man on the screen will be bigger than you, rougher than you. He will teach you how to talk to her. He will teach you where to put your hands and he will teach you what you’re supposed to like. He will teach you to take what is yours.
You must unlearn this. You must unlearn this twisted sense of love. You must unlearn the definition of pleasure and intimacy you are being taught. Kill this idea of love, this idea of entitlement, this way of scarring one another.’
this scared me and made me cry and i am almost embarrassed to post this but quite honestly i would rather fight for this rather than anything else.
men and womens value, and the indescribable importance of intimacy
I treat myself like I would my daughter. I brush her hair, wash her laundry, tuck her in goodnight. Most importantly, I feed her. I do not punish her. I do not berate her, leave tears staining her face. I do not leave her alone. I know she deserves more.
I know I deserve more.
So where are the places where its appropriate for kids to have authority? I am constantly trying to figure this out. But the fundamental disposition of schools and the culture of schools has been that the adults are in charge and the children’s responsibility is to comply. And it is so hard to shift institutional culture. I think these power relations just become absorbed and reinforced and then become a matter of expediency.
I really think it is a form of violence. That is an exaggeration, but still, it promotes power over others. And then we ask, ‘Why is bullying happening?’ Well, aren’t we actually modeling for them all day every day that the person with the most power gets to assert it over everyone else?