After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.
Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?
The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.
She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,
Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.
She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.
Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.
Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.
She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering
She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.
To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.
And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.
And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,
With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.
And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.
Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.
They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.
Not everything is lost.
(Left to Right): Peter Buffett, Jimmie Briggs, Joe Ehrmann, Tony Porter,
Dave Zirin and Moderator Eve Ensler.
GODDAMN IT TUMBLR, CAN YOU AT LEAST GIVE US THEIR NAMES?!?!?
- Ching Shih was a prominent pirate in middle Qing China, who terrorized the China Sea in the early 19th century. She commanded over 300 junks manned by 20,000 to 40,000 pirates another estimate has Cheng’s fleet at 1800 and crew at about 80,000— men, women, and even children. She challenged the empires of the time, such as the British, Portuguese and the Qing dynasty. Undefeated, she would become one of China and Asia’s strongest pirates, and one of world history’s most powerful pirates. She was also one of the few pirate captains to retire from piracy.
- Nancy Wake (one of the few white women on this list; of course you put her name on the graphic…)
- Lyudmila Pavlichenko
- Rukhsana Kausar
- The Gulabi gang (gulabi is Hindi for “pink”) was founded by Sampat Pal Devi, a mother of five and former government health worker (as well as a former child bride), as a response to widespread domestic abuse and other violence against women.Gulabis visit abusive husbands and threaten to beat them with laathis (sticks) unless they stop abusing their wives. Al Jazeera reports there are 400,000 members across Northern India.
- Neejra Bhanot was just 22 when terrorists from the Abu Nidal Organization hijacked Pan Am Flight 73, where she was the senior flight purser. After 17 hours (and yes, hiding American passports to protect those passengers), when the hijackers opened fire and set off explosives, Bhanot opened the emergency door and helped a number of passengers escape. She could have been the first to jump out when she opened the door but she decided not and was shot while shielding three children from a hail of bullets. Bhanot was recognized internationally as “the heroine of the hijack” and is the youngest recipient of the Ashok Chakra Award, India’s most prestigious gallantry award for bravery during peace time.
- Zainab Bibi, 42, allegedly told authorities she killed her husband Ahmad Abbas because he tried to sexually assault her 17-year-old daughter from another marriage.
- In September 2006, Susan Kuhnhausen found an intruder in her southeast Portland, OR home. “I saw a man step out of the shadows and he began to hit me in the head and the face with a hammer,” said Kuhnhausen. “I got the hammer and started hitting him with the hammer several times. My father, the carpenter, always taught me a hammer could be used for self defense — the claw end would work the best,” said Kuhnhausen. Kuhnhausen’s husband, Michael, had hired Ed Haffey to kill his wife.
- Seriously, fuck this one. The photo is of Parinya Chareonphol or Nong Thoom who is a kathoey, which many Thai believe to be a third gender (as opposed to the Western idea of ‘transgender’.) After a short time as a Buddhist monk, she took up Muy Thai kickboxing to support her parents and make enough money to pay for her sex-reassignment surgery, and basically kicked ass at it for several years. She was not “constantly made fun of before fights;” the Muy Thai community embraced her and her presence greatly revitalized both media and public interest in the sport, as shown by increased ticket sales and stadium revenue. The movie Beautiful Boxer was made about her, and she has recently acted in Mercury Man as well as continuing to kickbox. So yeah, fuck this one hard.
- Juliane Diller née Koepcke was the only survivor of the LANSA Flight 508 crash in 1971. Despite sustaining a broken collar bone, a deep gash to her right arm, a concussion and an eye injury in the fall, she was able to trek through the dense Amazon jungle for 10 days, until she was rescued by local lumbermen, who subsequently took her by canoe back to civilization. It was later discovered that as many as 14 other passengers also survived the initial fall from the disintegrated plane but were unable to seek help and died while awaiting rescue.
Seriously, guys, this took me like 20 minutes using Google and Wikipedia. These women are real people with real names and real stories. Please don’t reduce them to a picture (most of which came from Wikipedia in the first place oh my god i know you were there) and an “uplifting” story.
Look at these kickass women, and remember their names!!