Letter to Virginia Woolf; From a Middle Eastern young girl, to her teen-hood idol.
To dear Ms. Virginia Wolf: on A Room of One’s Own
My dear Virginia,
By my words, I earnestly mean to console you, and to share with you my feelings of compassion. The day had just broken when I started to read; it is now well past midnight and my senses of empathy have been brimming over since. Let me tell you how much love and affinity I feel towards you when I read your words. You, in my heart, are as alive as the mythical sister of Shakespeare’s after the dream of peace and equality in women has come true; for what you said, I have lived. I read your words and talk sympathetically to you, so deeply as if you were here, as if we lived the whole thing together.
You lived in an age when even though “the path was nominally open” there was a lot left to struggle with and “many phantoms and obstacles …” looming in a woman’s way to success. Women were striving to claim their rights, and to handle efficiently the advantages they had just been entitled to. You also hoped that “if we live another century or so… have five hundred a year each of us and rooms of our own… then the opportunity will come and the dead poet who was Shakespeare’s sister will put on the body which she has so often laid down”.
Oh! How slowly time creeps along when you have it bear the hopes of a lifetime, and how swiftly it slips past when you despairingly seek to find your way out of misery. How onerous is the strain of the concern I feel towards the troubles you and those before you have been through; and how unfortunate I feel to tell you about the unrealized wishes of yours.
My dear Virginia,
I am not by a century, as you estimated, but by two hundred years your posterity; yet there is not much I have in hand to dispose you towards confidence about what you tried to achieve. I should say, my age is still unfairly different from yours. I live among your future generations; yet some of what you had two centuries earlier, many of us are now denied. At the time I live, there are nations whose women are triumphantly committed to their ideals, while I see women of my society wretchedly succumb to patriarchal harassments.