France

Mont Blanc: Mission Aborted

Mountains are forces to be reckoned with. I somehow knew this but came to fully realize it this past week.

After successfully summiting Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest summit at 5895 meters, I felt that the world was at my feet. As soon as I had recuperated from the strenuous climb I started to plan for my next adventure. Eventually I decided to climb Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s highest peak at 4810 meters.

The one week adventure started with a three day course on Alpine climbing. Ten strangers came together from all over the world and were led by three guides through the

One of the most challenging snowy inclines during the Alpine course

Mont Blanc mountain range. The climbs involved strenuous inclines on rock and snow, crossing glaciers, skirting crevasses, and scrambling up rocks with 3500 meter sheer drops. For the first time I used crampons (sharp undersoles that are clamped onto the bottom of one’s mountaineering boots to help hold onto the snow) and was harnessed and connected to other team members by ropes in case one of us fell through a crevasse.

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I’ve Offended the Mountain

July 10, 10 am on the train from Torino to Aosta

“Where is the logic?” I’ve been asking myself these past couple of weeks.

First sight of Mont Blanc amidst lush green mountains

Ahhh, the madness that comes of fearing the unknown.

As I sit here on this train with rapid Alpine rivers rolling below me and lush green mountains towering above, I feel something I only rarely feel: I’m coming home.

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A New Adventure and New Fear: To Mont Blanc I Go

June 27: Why, oh why, oh why?

It’s that time of the year again. I’m preparing for another adventure; this time to Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe.

“Why?” you ask. Since you are asking me only a few days before I set off, I really have no satisfying answer for you. I’ve been asking myself that same question. Why, Nadia? Why, oh why, oh why?

Mont Blanc is a mountain that involves ropes and ice axes, crevasses that people fall into and falling rocks that cause people to slip and fall.

Why, Nadia? Why, oh why, oh why?

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Time for a confession: I wore the face veil for eight years

The moment I click “publish” on this blog entry, the judging will start. I do not enjoy being judged, although I should be accustomed to it by now.

As a kid in America, I was a “brain” or the “religious girl”. Later on in Egypt as a university student, I was the half-American girl who had a weird Egyptian accent. I’ve been called too conservative by liberals and too liberal by conservatives. When I worked as a journalist with IslamOnline, I was labeled by non-IOLers as an “Islamist” journalist even though I almost completely avoided writing about religion. And right now I think I’m just confusing people as they are finding it more and more difficult to place me in a convenient box.

I’ve avoided making today’s confession for many years. Most people I have worked with since I started my career do not know this side of me. And I’ve hid it to avoid further judgments, labels, and categorizations.

But the time has come. Blog posts come to me like labor. The water breaks and the words pour out. No matter how hard I resist, they are going to come out and be delivered, gosh darnit!

So here it is:

I wore the face veil for eight years.

This confession comes because I am now sufficiently angered by what I’ve been reading in the media for the past couple of years by writers who clearly know absolutely nothing about women who wear the face veil or why they choose to do so.

These women must be saved, the main message seems to read. They are being forced into submission, writers suggest.

I wore the face veil when I was 19 and continued to wear it till I was 26. During that time, many of my friends wore the veil as well. My experience and that of many, many women who wear the veil in Egypt and many other Arab countries is not what the mass media and some European governments want you to believe.

For the women who have freely chosen to wear a face veil, I write this post.

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