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Hello world, can you hear me? Finally?

Never again

And so it begins… again. I am officially starting a new blog. But this time, I want it to be read. This time, I want it to be heard. This time I want it to be effective. Can you help me Web 2.0? Can you make my voice louder? My thoughts clearer? My dreams realer? And so it begins…

I am not a virgin.

I have always blogged. I blogged without Internet and wrote without a pen. I blogged in my mind, told it stories, and pled for my sanity and voice: “I have an opinion,” I keep telling it. Don’t shush me! I can decide for myself. Don’t dismiss me! I can speak for myself. I can speak for myself. Not my father, not my brother, and certainly not my husband.

I am an Arab girl.
I am an illiterate Arab girl.
I am a powerless illiterate Arab girl.
I am a silenced, powerless, illiterate Arab girl.
I am a stereotyped, silenced, powerless, illiterate Arab girl.

If only I knew how to write, I would have written for myself.

If only I knew how to speak English, I would have spoken loads to masses in the world.

If only I could “get online,” my voice would have been heard by now…

And I did. Against all odds I did. I did all of this. But my voice remained unheard. My words remained unspoken. Why? What am I doing wrong World Wide Web? What are YOU doing wrong World Wide Web?

But it’s ok. Web 2.0 has come and it won’t let me down like you did. I am sure it won’t. Web 2.0 will treat me right. It will save me and save my words.

Web 2.0 will connect me to other Arab girls, to communities of Arab girls, to masses of girls. And then I’ll become a woman. An empowered woman who will speak for herself, for and with millions of other Arab girls. Thank you Web 2.0. I am yours. Take me out now. Take my words and let them be…

I am an Arab girl and I am not a virgin. No I am not. But I have to pretend to be one.



PaxFeminina's picture


Thank you so much for writing this, Najwa!
You so clearly articulate the battle to have all women's opinions heard, and you write with so much emotion and passion.I wish you the best of luck in meeting as many women as possible, and sharing your voice with them. I hear you! I look forward to reading more of your writing.

Blessed be,

Pax Feminina

blessed be,
Pax Feminina

Peace! Paix! Paz! Shalom! Salaam! Friede! Mir! Heiwa! Aman Malay! Ashtee! Damai!
Ets'a'an Olal! Hau! Iri'ni! K'é! Maluhia! Nabad-Da! Olakamigenoka! Pingan! Shanti! Uxolo!

Najwa Bel's picture


Thank you for you kind words of support and encouragement...Let it begin, we are ready :)


"I am only one, but still I am one."

emanwaseem's picture


that was really good, I liked every part of it especially when you described your self with most of the Arabic girls. and it was outstanding courage of you to write about the virginity and your opinion about it. I repeat it was really good and I will look forward to hear from you again.
by the way I also Arabic girl
Good Luck

Najwa Bel's picture

You are right!

I thought about the 6 years old girl in the countryside of Morocco who does not even speak Arabic, and I thought of the mother of 8 children who lives in the Atlas Mountains up in the north before thinking about my own situation.

I feel a mixture of hope and despair, I feel I can accomplish more and help the 7 years old girl who works as a maid in the big city of Casablanca, and support the street 12 years old girl living in the wild city of Cairo.

I am here to learn from you all, World Pulse community is full of amazing women and I can't wait to know them all and learn from their stories and experiences.

Thank you for your support Eman and thanks to everyone else for you wonderful words of encouragement!

"I am only one, but still I am one."

carolepng's picture

Speaks for all women

wow - i like this.
very creative and we all can relate.
it is true ey - we blog everyday - in our minds, on pieces of paper, talking to a friend..
now we can have our thoughts be heard - by millions , the whole world.
thanks for that creative piece - puts Web2.0 and its effects in a whole new perspective.

-We all have a special purpose in life. It is up to us to pause for a while, identify it, grab on to it and follow through -

Najwa Bel's picture

Women of World Pulse!

Thank you for identifying with me, thank you for speaking the same language and looking at the same future!

"I am only one, but still I am one."

nilima's picture

YES i can hear you my

YES i can hear you my friend:)

Najwa Bel's picture

Voice united

And I can hear you my sister!

"I am only one, but still I am one."

Andrea Arzaba's picture


Najwa! Us WOMEN HAVE A VOICE! Let it be heard ;)

Najwa Bel's picture


we are here, we are hear, we are here, ..., i can't get enough of saying it.
we are here, we are here and we have a voice
thanks andrea for your support

"I am only one, but still I am one."

Tripti's picture

Everyone is hearing you now!

Everyone is hearing you now! your work has been accomplished my friend! Your post is just so awesome!
You are not alone...not only Arab women can hear you, all of us can hear you with different religion from different country across the world!
Write on!

Najwa Bel's picture

I am glad

I am glad and eager to know, share and embrace other cultures and faiths. It is incredible how close they are when you get to learn about each country and each religion looking for similarities, not disparities, looking for the good and positive not the bad or the negative.

I believe that we all started at the same point, and got distracted by nature and events. We should regroup and share our visions. Then we'll be harmonious. Then we'll be peaceful.

Thank you!

"I am only one, but still I am one."

AmyM's picture


This is so moving, Najwa. You have evoked rawness, anger, passion, intelligence and hope. You have a unique and powerful voice. Great job!

Najwa Bel's picture

Thank you!

I can't thank you all, I feel so blessed and positive being around women like yourselves, hearing your words of support and encouragement and reading your stories that you all so willingly share.

Thank you for speaking and thank you for hearing others!

"I am only one, but still I am one."

olutosin's picture

I love this!

This is a beautiful piece....beautiful.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town


Najwa Bel's picture

So are your words

Thank you for being part of this and helping us learn and grow, thank you for sharing your story and experiences!


"I am only one, but still I am one."

aimeeknight's picture

your song

This is not just a blog, it is poetry. It is your song and you have a beautiful voice!

"One shoe can change a life" ~ Cinderella

Najwa Bel's picture

Yes it can :)

Thank you for your kind words Aimee and indeed, one shoe can change a life... A small sentence with a sea of meanings!



"I am only one, but still I am one."

Jennifer Brier's picture

You are radiating...

I hear you! You are a POWERFUL Arab girl...

Your voice is radiating across the globe and we feel the ripples of your strength!

Be loud....Be strong, My Sister!


"I am a woman, that's my weapon!" ~Catherine Robbins

Najwa Bel's picture

Be Pulse!

I like how we created a community of sisters in World Pulse, I hear it often and I feel it a lot!

Thanks sister for your kind words of encouragement!



"I am only one, but still I am one."

Dear Najwa,

You speak with such determination and strength, and poetry! Sounds like you have overcome many obstacles already. As an Arab girl, who clearly feels silenced by men, what would you most like to ask of your community, of the world, for yourself, and for other Arab girls?

You write so beautifully and I would love to hear more of your story...... Antonia

Najwa Bel's picture

What I will ask men...


Or rather, what I will tell them.. BE AND LET BE!

To everyone I say: be and let be, be a man, be a woman, be religious, be secular, be and let be..


Thank you Antonia for your kind words. I will try and write "my story" someday, though I am not sure I have one, but I have plenty for girls and women who can't speak JUST YET. I'd rather have them speak for themselves, inshalah! like we say here in Morocco :)

Peace, always

"I am only one, but still I am one."

WILDKat's picture

Poetry of your Arab girl heart

You are smashing old paradigms on so many levels.
No you are not a virgin.
Your words already reveal ecstacy and loss.
Clearly you are choosing to do something with your one wild life.
Thanks for taking us along with you on the journey.

Naturally grateful,
Kat Haber

"Know thyself." ~ Plato

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