Massoud Hayoun is a Los Angeles-based journalist and writer. His book When We Were Arabs recounts his grandparents’ lives in Egypt, Tunisia, Palestine, and Los Angeles as a decolonial reclamation of Jewish Arab identity.
In part one of our two-part conversation, Massoud explains the process of conceptualizing and writing this book alongside his grandmother. We discuss the challenges of balancing our cultural focus on the past with the need to imagine a better future, and how claiming an identity can be a political choice. We also talk about how concepts of gender play out in our personal and political lives, from our comfort with older femme figures to common associations between masculinity and nationalism.
Stay tuned for more!
Essay referenced in this episode: https://lithub.com/massoud-hayoun-on-what-it-means-to-identify-as-both-jewish-and-arab/