Photography by Remon El Markiz
Basma Abbas – Art Director
“Dear God …”
This is the first I write to you. I always pray to you before going to sleep, I have talked to you a lot before and I have lit many candles in your church before, but today I feel the need to write to you in order to make sure you get my message, and please answer me back.
Today is my first day at my new school. I was really excited about the idea of going to a new school, wearing a uniform like my elder siblings and making new friends. What really happened made me hate it and I don’t want to go there anymore.
“I have talked to you a lot before and I have lit many candles in your church before, but today I feel the need to write to you in order to make sure you get my message.”
For the past week I heard nothing from my mother but warnings: “You should stay quiet all the time! You shouldn’t talk to other kids! You can’t make new friends! Other people can’t know that you visit God’s church! You can’t wear your new necklace that you got last Palm Sunday!”
And on top of that came that most annoying warning: “You should cover your hair like the other girls in school!” Why? Why, God? Why should I hide my two beautiful braids and my red hairband with my favorite princess on its side? Everyone likes it; why won’t the new teachers and the new girls like it too?
When I asked her about the reason behind all these warnings and why I should cover my hair, she told me that the teachers and the girls in the new school have a different “religion”! I asked her about the meaning of the word “religion”. She didn’t reply and just said that we are different from them, and that I need to look like them inside the school otherwise I can get hurt.
“I lie about my church, my cross, my hair and about “You”! I don’t like to lie, my mother taught me not to lie and I remember you don’t like us to lie.”
I think the people who have different religion worship another God. Maybe their God asks them to wear a certain uniform. You will always remain my favorite God; so please talk to the other God and tell him to like me, and tell him that I don’t like my new school.
I lie about my church, my cross, my hair and about “You”! I don’t like to lie, my mother taught me not to lie and I remember you don’t like us to lie. I don’t understand why I should start now! Why does my mother ask me now to lie? Will they lie to me in the new school? Did my mother lie to me before? Can I lie to my father? Is it OK to lie?
N.B. Please also let my mother stop crying. I love you both.
Basma Abbas believes in all forms of art. She is especially mesmerized by fashion. She believes that how people dress reflects who they are and how they feel. It’s a form of art where she can get to create her own reality. It allows her to reach into the depths of her mind and soul, and to stretch beyond. She was reborn in Tahrir five years ago. The revolution was a turning point in her life. She wanted to stand for those who couldn’t stand for themselves. She wanted to fight for change, freedom and social justice. She is a wife and a mother of two, with passion for Yoga and meditation. She considers herself in a continuous journey to explore her spiritual path so that she can have a grounded sense of self.