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These Bodies of Water: Notes on the British Empire, the Middle East and Where We Meet
16 March 2023 All day
Are you not made of Suez silt?
How do we know you won’t
shore our boats
by making yourself bigger
than we made you?
Sabrina Mahfouz once sat in a Whitehall interview room and was interrogated about everything from her political leanings to her private life. It was ostensibly a job interview, but implicit in their demands was the unspoken question: as a woman of Middle Eastern heritage, could she really be trusted?
Years later, Sabrina found herself confronting the meaning behind this interrogation, and how it was specifically informed by the British Empire’s historical dominance in the Middle East. THESE BODIES OF WATER investigates this history through the Middle Eastern coastlines and waterways that were so vital to the Empire’s hold. Interwoven with her own personal experiences, Sabrina combines history, politics, myth and poetry in a devastating examination of this unacknowledged part of Britain’s colonial past.
Part history, part polemic and part intimate memoir, THESE BODIES OF WATER is a tapestry of writing that tells the story of Britain’s relationship with the Middle East in the most revealing terms.