Being Arab, Being Woman, Being Besotted Londoner!
In August 1988 I arrived in London as a naïve and awkward thirteen year-old Libyan teenager and went straight to an American high-school to complete my education; hence, the American accent that throws people off not realising I am an Arab. Being young, silly and childish at the time, I didn’t really appreciate the potential world around me.
Then at the age of 18, I went on to study and in three years to graduate from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) with an LLB Degree. Although I had wishes and ambition to become a lawyer, personal circumstances directed me onto a totally different path, so that at this stage of my life and for the past ten years, my passions have led to me becoming a freelance writer and journalist.
So now I am a thirty-something independent Arab woman still living in London and who has for the best part of 25 years come to feel ever more at ease with this most welcoming of places. In fact, London and I have been wickedly indulging in a passionate love affair with each other and with every passing year, the two of us are brought even closer than can be imaginable.
This was one of the reasons I first created Nahla Ink Online Journal.
What started out four years ago as just a collection of light-hearted pieces and articles chronicling parts of my London life experiences and concerning some pet topics, it has now organically developed into something much more that that. Libya too now features heavily after the 2011 Revolution that was part of the Arab Spring.
But that is how I unintentionally discovered a relatively empty niche to write about the Arab in general, the British Arab in London in particular and for the wider group of the Arab curious. I now cover topics of interest to all and welcome any suggestions or leads for subjects to approach or people of interest to interview.
But truly like no other, it is London that I wish to celebrate, from offering the space to be oneself without judgment to freely engaging with others. For it is the top multicultural metropolis with its citizens hailing from every part of the world and generally all co-existing harmoniously under solid laws that guarantee personal freedom and civil liberties.
London is the haven for the tens of millions who are conducting their individual and private search for work, education, knowledge and meaning; and, every Londoner has a unique story to tell. Even just walking around its streets, its urban landscape and mix of architecture convey its long proud history and the tales of its multitude of different groups are visible for everyone to see or examine.
Finally, I hope you all enjoy reading the articles, sign up to the Nahla Ink Newsletter and do check My Curious Inbox for a listing of events taking place that might be of interest for you to attend or learn more about.
Best wishes to all!
PS The Portrait below was taken of me as part of The World in London Project, 2012.