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Dalila Sabti

2019-11-27

I’m currently reading When We Were Arabs, a debut non-fiction book of writer Massoud Hayoun. The book is a combination of two mémoires of Hayoun’s grandparents; Oscar and Daida.
There was a time when being an “Arab” didn’t mean you were necessarily Muslim. It was a time when Oscar Hayoun, an Egyptian Jew and Daida, a Tunisian Jew lived in peace in Arab countries and claimed them as their homelands. Massoud Hayoun takes us back to a beautiful time when people lived in peace in North Africa and the Middle East. What we would call it a golden age of musician Mohamed Abdel waheb and The singer Habiba msika.
As a Tunisian myself, like Hayoun’s grandmother Daida (May peace be upon her soul), I’m wandering the streets of Tunis through her memories of past time and souvenirs.

I recently lost my grandmother, and we were so close and this book reminded me of her. Massoud’s relationship with his Daida reminded me of my late grandmother and this beautiful book felt like the right choice for me at this specific time.
I’m definitely investing more in this book and I will probably post my review somewhere here soon.
Thank you 🙏

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