"A Bridge Through Time: A Memoir", by Laila Said (Summit Books, $17.95). "I couldn't say no to the promise of freedom. But how hard it is to take that road. How painful freedom can be."
"A Bridge Through Time" recounts the pain and the exhilaration of Laila Said's escape from the middle-class Egyptian society of the 1950's and 1960's and the forging of a new, though distant relationship with her homeland.
In many ways, it is a familiar story: the obligatory betrothal to a man she does not love; the mediating presence of a mentor - her father, in this case - who helps her delay the inevitable marriage while she completes her education; the widening gap between Said and her husband, exacerbated by her abortion, that culminates in divorce, her struggle to define herself and her work as a stage director and filmmaker.
But this typical liberation story offers more. Played out against a backdrop of more than 20 years of Arab-Israeli conflict, and the struggle for peace in the Middle East, the book captures the frustration of being exposed to the hundreds of indignities - great and small - that attend the life of women everywhere, and encapsulates Egyptian women's struggle for rights that American women took for granted even before the Women's Movement began.
Her admiration for the America Women's Movement and the women who helped make it happen (Gloria Steinem, Phyllis Chesler, and others figure prominently in later chapters) seems at first tinged with naïve awe of feminist personalities, but that awe gives way to mature respect as the book continues. Said ends her memoir in semi-exile from her native land, after several advances and retreats from Egyptian life chronicled throughout the book. But she also closes with the impassioned challenge to the world's women to cross the boundaries of color, class, and culture, and asks us to remember the goals that all women share.
It is her commitment to those goals, and her vivid portrait of a culture alien in most American women, that shines through in "A Bridge Through Time", and reminds us of the often tortuous path to freedom.
-Roseklmay L. Bray, MS. Magazine, November 1985.
Turmoil and Rage in the Arab World. June 8, 2011.
Image of the Arab, Part 4, Cairo Time. August 4, 2011. A Film Review.
The Trial of Mubark. August 3, 2011.
The Burning of the Israeli Flag at Tahrir Square in Cairo. August 19, 2011.
The Fall of the Libyan Regime. August 30, 2011.
About Town (Tucson). August 13, 2011.
Demonstrations Against Israel. September 3, 2011.
Tragedy for the Copts at Egypt. October 10, 2011.
The Slaughter of Quddafi in Libya. October 26, 2011.
The Jasmin Revolution and After. October 26, 2011.
The Rafah Crossing Revisited.
Let Us Save Egypt. November 2, 2011.
What Happened to the Arab Spring?
The Election in Egypt. December 6, 2011.
Women Protest Police Violence in Cairo. December 22, 2011.
Trouble in Gaza. January 19, 2012.
"The Society for the Muslim Brothers"-A Retrospective Look at Richard Mitchell's Classic Work on the Muslim Brotherhood. January 23, 2012.
The Real Revolution of the Arab world-Media. March 7, 2012.
Outside the Law. Film Review. Algerian Film 2010.
Violence in Gaza. March 18, 2012.
Historical Interview with Dr. Madil al Arabi, Head of the Arab League (Published in Middle East Journal, New York: Vantage Press, 2002). March 23, 2012.
Turmoil and Rage in Egypt. April 24, 2012.
Arizona Immigration Law. April 24, 2012.
A Racial Incident at a Tucson Health Resort-Lowe's Ventana Canyon. November 9, 2009.
The Fort Hood Tragedy. November 11, 2009.
Gaza Revisited. November 18, 2009.
The Release of Roman Polanski. December 2009.
April 12, 2010 Senate Bill 1070 AZ.
The Arizona Immigration Bill. The Opinion of the Outside World. April 30, 2010.
Flowers from Israel. January 22, 2010.
The Stalemate on the Peace Talks. March 2010.
The Peace Flotilla. March 2010.
Violence Between COPTS and Muslems. January 6, 2010.
The Transformation of the Arab Media and the Upcoming Parliamentary Elections in Egypt. November 23, 2010.
Ghost Writer. A Film Review. May 28, 2010.
The Fallout in Egypt from the Nov. 28 Elections. December 5, 2010.
The First Day of the Eid. November 16, 2010.
Strife between Christians and Muslims. November 9, 2010.
A Tribute to Hosni Mubarak. July 27, 2010.
Islamophobia Revisited. December 19, 2010.
The Peace Talks. December 7, 2010.
The Revolution in Egypt. January 30, 2011.
Carnage in Tucson. January 8, 2011.
The Fall of Mubarak. February, 2011.
The Assassination of Usama Bin Laden. March 3, 2011.
Cairo's Time. A Film Review. 2011.
American Foreign Policy in the Near East: Method or Madness. May 19, 2011.
Publications since 2001 (see articles on this website):