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The Queer Arabs Posts

Episode 117 [in English]: R.I.P. Sarah Hegazi

CW: Suicide, self harm, queer killing, queer death, honor killing, sexual abuse, rape, firearms.

On the June 14, 2020, LGBTQ and human rights advocate Sarah Hegazi took her own life. Sarah first came under the public eye following the notorious September 2017 Mashrou’ Leila concert where Sarah, alongside two friends, waved a rainbow flag. Despite the shadow of a state that actively quelled all sexual freedom, for that moment Sarah was unabashed in her identity as a queer woman.

In the months following, the Egyptian state executed a mass witch-hunt of hundreds of queer youth with the aid of the media propaganda machine. Sarah was arrested, tortured and sexually assaulted until she fled Egypt for Canada three months later. In this episode, Adam, Alia and Nadia commemorate and remember the life of Sarah Hegazi, a human who paid the price of living fully. The world lost Sarah after long battles with depression, PTSD, and state-sanctioned violence under the hands of the Orwellian contemporary Egyptian state.

In this episode, we celebrate Sarah’s life, address the queer killings, death and grief that plagues so many of our societies, and discuss how her death has reverberated within the wider Egyptian zeitgeist, within Egyptian queer communities, and within the diaspora. This is for you, Sarah. Rest In Peace. Rest In Power. Rest in Pride.

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Episode 116 [in English]: You Exist Too Much

Zaina Arafat is a journalist, fiction writer and teacher based in New York City.  We talked to Zaina about her new novel You Exist Too Much, which was released on June 9!  The novel centers a queer Palestinian American character who grapples with the effects of inherited trauma, her position within in-between spaces that come with being part of the diaspora, and her sexual identity.

Our conversation touches on the importance of the “messy” character (versus unrealistically aspirational) when bringing representation to any form of media.  We also discuss Zaina’s teaching and other writing she has done.

You can order a copy of the book here!

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