Abécédaire: “H”

I can’t decide if H should be for house, home, or homeland.

In my case these three seem to be wrapped up in each other, interchangeable, perhaps even one. I probably would choose House as the superseding organizer of these states of being. House not in terms of any house, but a particular house; one that my grandmother built. Time and circumstance can make a house home, and in a political reality void of human rights and the rule of law, it also becomes homeland – the one of your own making. The walls of the house become the borders of homeland: The headquarters of a life with all the particularities of who you are, who you choose to be — the person the state might otherwise punish, or even outlaw. Some might argue that home and homeland within these constraints can become something of a prison of their own. That feeling, at times, occurs too. But home can be everything, with or without an actual house, or homeland – my grandmother’s house, even as it is no longer ours, remains the exile of my choosing.

Yasmine El Rashidi


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