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Fatema Mernissi

Vanishing Orient. Papa's Harem Is Shifting To Mama's Civil Society

Since the late 1980's Fatema Mernissi and the German-American artist Ruth V. Ward have cooperated in several major visual/verbal projects. Feminism and the literary and artistic exploration of a woman's status and identity was their early connection and springboard that led to the exhibitions which have been shown extensively in Europe and the United States.

Vanishing Orient: Courtyard In the Orient, feminity is under control. Like time, women are still and quit. They can dance and dream, but not think. Thinking might interfere with men's pleasure.

Men are kings in the Orient. They rule over beauties gliding by like silent shadows. Women become exstatic kissing men's hands, a cherished tradition going back to King Chosroes's time.
Vanishing Orient: Telephone The deadly blow against the harem architecture was the telephone. In the marble covered palace of my childhood the telephone was secured with a double lock. Many emirs in the Gulf region are still against it.
The funny part of the story is that while oil-rich Emirs invest furiously in luxurious harems their wives travel luggage-free daily, riding high on satellite TV. Vanishing Orient: Television
But the most subversive of all is the educated unveiled woman who can write independently and produce and disseminate information, because she breaks the Moslem ruler's monopoly over communication. Vanishing Orient: Journals
Depression is when you don't see the ocean behind the door. Depression is when the planet ia a vast prison. You are depressed when you don't see solutions. Depression is when you see yourself as a problem. Depression is when self-worth vanishes. Depression is when you feel useless. When you see your power again, you are out of depression. Vanishing Orient: The Sea