Ya Bahiya

by Haneen Amr


We often use the language of plunder to talk of violence suffered by women; 
We often talk of plundered cities in the feminine. 


After the 1952 revolution, when poets or filmmakers wanted to speak of 
Egypt, they'd speak of a  woman. The women's names may vary, but in the 
end, they're all Bahiya-and you know Bahiya when you see her.


بهية صدرها رحب رحابة صدر أمك بهية عفية اديها مشدودة الوتد قمحية بهية تعطي وتعطي وتعطي عطاء الأرض ولا تشكي بهية في نهاية الأمور تقف للظلم والرجال يحتشدوا وراها بهية ست بمائة راجل بس لا زالت ست ولازم تسيب الأمور ونهايتها في أيدي الرجال
4. In cities under conquest, women cease to be human. They are at once more and less. Woman as metaphor. Woman as vehicle to drive home a message. Woman as spoil of war. Woman as natural resource. Woman as anything but human. 5. In post-colonial theory, there is often talk of the colonised man's desire to take the settler's place. Roam the halls of his house. Sleep in his bed. Fuck his wife. 6. What of the colonised woman? 7. Do you ever dream of power, Bahiya? Do you wish to ponder the choice to hurt the way you tongue the ridges of your teeth? 8. What do you want, Bahiya? only to feel like this body is my own.

Haneen Amr is a writer from Cairo-about which they think and write obsessively. Their work has previously appeared in Unootha magazine and WarmBlue Collective.