Looking at the issue of the Egyptian society at large through the micro- perspective of the family and the household further allows to formulate an even more important question: ‘Is a revolution in the street possible without a revolution in the family?’
By Noha Mokhtar, Harvard GSD
Family is a site where solidarity is often assumed and taken for granted: people living with and relying on each other, and sharing common economic and social resources. But a strong sense of solidarity within the family can also be counterbalanced with a sense of lack of independence, privacy and individual agency. This ambivalent situation is often experienced by young Egyptians, who undergo economic, political, social, moral and religious pressure within and outside of their homes. The Egyptian Constitution’s Tenth Article interestingly states that “Family is the basis of society and is based on religion, morality, and patriotism. The state protects its cohesion and stability, and the consolidation of its values.” This underlines the complex parallels existing in Egypt between the structure of the family and that of the State, and how the two rely on each other. Within this frame, I am focusing on domestic spaces and how different forms of solidarity are experienced within them. I argue that space and materiality matter if we want to understand the relationships of power at play, forms of hierarchy and patriarchy in the Egyptian context. Looking at the issue of the Egyptian society at large through the micro-perspective of the family and the household further allows to formulate an even more important question: ‘Is a revolution in the street possible without a revolution in the family?’
Since the 2011 uprisings in Egypt, various projects by Egyptian and foreign social researchers, urban planners, architects, artists etc. have emerged. They all aim to understand the complexity and the transformations of the urban and social landscape from a multiplicity of perspectives. Most of them however remain within the public sphere. I on the other hand want to turn towards the interior and approach the possibilities for social changes from within the domestic sphere. For my research, I am conducting semi-structured Skype interviews with people who are looking for flatmates/roomates in Cairo, and who posted online ads on websites such as Craigslist or Facebook. My aim is to explore new forms of solidarities, where “household” does not equate to “family”. How can shared common spaces which rely on economic or friendship rather than kinship ties be created? How do we share a dwelling with people who do not necessarily share the same religious, social political values? And what challenges would such a cohabitation entail in the context of Cairo?
LOOKING FOR TWO FOREIGN FEMALE ROOMMATES.NO PETS ALLOWED!
Noha Mokhtar: Can you say a few words about yourself?Roommate: Sure. I am 31. I have two sisters who are younger than me. One is married, the other is still very young. We belong to the upper middle class, and both of my parents are retired. My parents are religious, I am not. I lived in the UK for two and a half years, where I completed two Master degrees. My family had no problem with me traveling or even living on my own there, but when I came back to Cairo and said that I wanted to move out, it was a huge problem. They said “there, it made sense, but here in Cairo, there’s no reason.” So when I turned 30, we had that big discussion. I told them that I couldn’t live with them anymore, and that anyway I had no plans getting married soon. I wanted to have my independence. At home I was sharing my room with my sister. She’s very nice, I like her a lot, but that wasn’t comfortable for me. This still didn’t convince them. So when they understood that I was going to move out anyway, their rhetoric changed. “We are old, we need you and you’re going to leave us.” They started to emotionally blackmail me. But at this point I had already made my decision. At the end of a long negotiation—it took more than a year—we reached a comprise. I had to go home every week-end and spend all my Fridays with my family. I don’t regret moving out. It gives me a certain peace of mind. I feel independent, I can come back to a place that is mine, I have my own room, no one bothers me. Also, my parents live in Heliopolis, which is close to the airport, and my work is close to Zamalek. The commute was unbearable. This worked to my advantage.
NM: Did you chose a workplace that far on purpose?RM: No.
NM: But you needed a “valid reason” to move out.RM: Yes, because my parents didn’t understand my whole argument having my space and my independence. There’s a generation gap here. My parents are not super conservative, but they are traditional. My mother didn’t leave the house until she got married, nor did my father. For them it’s a very foreign idea. Nobody in their network has a child who has moved out. They had never been exposed to this idea.
NM: How did you tell them the first time? Did you have a plan or was it all improvised?RM: I had a strategy! First, I talked with them separately. I knew that it was easier to convince my dad. He’s more open-minded. So I talked with him about it, and he didn’t agree at first. This really shocked me. But I kept talking to him, and then my sister talked to him too. He slowly started to accept the idea, and he said «ok, let’s try.» So the label was very important. It was a trial period. After that we told my mom. She was so mad at my dad! She was even more mad at him than she was at me, because she thought he was supporting me.
NM: Have your parents ever come to your house? RM:Only once, yes. I invited them for dinner. I hid all the alcohol, I cleaned, I did everything to make the place look nice. My dad was more receptive to it, he was even a bit enjoying it. My mom was on the edge the whole time. She criticized that the house wasn’t well furnished. “Is this what you’re leaving us for?» she said. “I am not leaving because of furniture» I told her. She doesn’t get it, really. She kept criticizing the house, which made me feel bad to be honest, because I really worked hard on making it hospitable for them.
NM: How did you find the apartment? RM: I found it on a Facebook group for accommodations in Cairo. Craigslist is more directed towards foreigners, while Facebook is more for Egyptians.
NM: Were you searching for a whole apartment or just a room? RM: Just a room. I have flatmates. Actually when I first joined, there was a woman who was almost 40 and one from Germany who was younger. I wasn’t in love with them, but it was OK. At the beginning I was so excited about moving out, that I disregarded small problems. I was just so overwhelmed by the fact that I was finally out. I organized my room, bought new curtains. The oldest roomate had been living in the flat the longest, and she treated us as if we were guests. She would get a cat without asking us for example. This was very frustrating. And then when I had people over, she was very passive-aggressive about it. It started to piss me off at the end, really. But because I already had experiencing the life with flatmates in the UK, my expectations were not too high. This wasn’t going to be heaven. But I wouldn’t complain to my parents about it, because then their solution would be «come back home, we’ve warned you.» After a while both of them left, so I took over the contract. Now the flat is under my name. And this is why I am looking for new flatmates. In the ad, I explicitly asked for females and for no pets!
NM: Was it a condition for your parents that your flatmates must be women?RM: They didn’t even need to say it. This was for granted.
NM: What are you criteria to choose new flatmates?RM: I think I have the capacity to put ground rules that make the flat a good home for everyone. It’s a shared space, it’s not my flat. The only difference is that my name is on the contract but everything else, we share. We consult each other, we update each other when we want to have people over. We keep the place clean. I interviewed my new roommates on Skype before I decided. I chose two Australians. One is working with refugees, the other is learning Arabic.
NM: Do you prefer to live with foreigners? RM: I had no choice. I don’t mind living with Egyptians. But having a majority of non-Egyptian people in the flat was the landlord’s preference.
NM: Why?RM: It’s less complicated with the neighbors and the bawab. If you have people over and they’re foreigners, there’s no problem. But if we are only Egyptians, then it’s not OK. Neighbors are like moral police.
NM: Can you explain this a bit more?RM: Having your friends over, or even your boyfriend, is less of a problem if the flat is not 100% Egyptian. The way foreigners and Egyptians are judged is very different.
NM: Taking about the bawab, the doorman, what is your relationship to him?RM: We’re on very good terms. I invested in this. I took the time to introduce myself, getting to know a bit about him and his family…You know establishing a personal relationship and make him understand that this is my home and not just a place I am renting for ... And obviously in Ramadan and Eid, I give him some money.
NM: Could you describe the space and the distribution of the apartment?RM: The flat is very big. It’s divided into two parts. The inside can be closed by two doors. There, we have two rooms, a bathroom and the kitchen. In the other part, outside, is where the living room, the dining room and my room are.
NM: When you say «inside» and «outside», do you make a clear distinction when you have guests for example? Is there a part of the flat that is more private than the rest?RM: Usually when we have guests, we stay in the living room. If they want to make some tea or get a beer from the fridge, they can go to the kitchen. But they don’t wander around.
NM: You said that your mother complained about the furniture. Where did you get it from?RM: It was furnished already. The furniture in my flat is from the eighties! It’s not perfect, but it’s comfortable. That’s important.
NM: In many flats I have visited, there were two sets of sofas: the entrée and thesalon. One is to receive guests, the other, less formal, to watch TV.RM: We don’t have an entrée. When you get in, you directly have the dining room, and then behind it the living room.
NM: How would you describe your neighborhood?RM: I love it! Zamalek is so alive, and everything is very close. You can get groceries, go for food, take a walk.
NM: Is walking in the street different in Zamalek and Heliopolis?RM: Hmm.. because the area in Heliopolis where my parents live is very nice too, I didn’t have problems walking in the street. But I would say it’s nicer in Zamalek. You go to a coffee shop and you hear people speaking different languages. This is why I also really love London, it’s so diverse! Heliopolis is more residential.
NM: Have you ever had any problems with your neighbors?RM: Not until now. We’re lucky. But I have to say that our building has had foreigners living in it for years. So everyone is used to it.
NM: What is the difference between living with roommates and living with your family?RM: It’s a huge difference! Privacy is number one. If I’m in my room, nobody is going to knock on my door and just walk in, which my mom and dad would do. I have more freedom. Having my friends over, having dinner with them, watching a movie, or having drinks.I couldn’t do these things in my parent’s house. My mom was like «if your friends are coming over, I have to clean, I have to cook…» It was a huge burden.
NM: Sometimes you go back to your parent’s house on weekends or for birthdays. Do they ask you questions about how you live your life?RM: Yes, but just general questions. They are step by step accepting the idea that I live by myself, which makes them more curious too. But I think that I really try to be present, if not physically, at least on WhatsApp. Or if they call me, I make sure I answer so they don’t worry.
NM: How did your extended family or friends of your parents react to you moving out?M: Very few people know. My parents didn’t want it to spread. So only my mother’s sister and my grand-mother know. And when they want to talk about it, I simply say that it’s my business. Families can be very intrusive. So you have to teach them how to treat you.
NM: And how do you do that?RM: By saying very honestly «I don’t want to talk about this topic.» It really upsets me. It’s my private life and I don’t want to discuss it. For them I am an alien, they don’t understand me. It’s not just about moving out, it’s about not wearing the veil, not praying, or not getting married. So they will always find a reason to criticize my life. I just have to be very clear about this: no one talks to me about these things! Sometimes their questions don’t even upset me anymore, because I am used to it, but I pretend to be very upset, so they understand it better!
NM: Was moving out a way for you to escape the confrontation with your family about topics like marriage or religion?RM: These things come by default, but it wasn’t a conscious decision to escape. Honestly, I just wanted to have some space. It was as simple as that. All the things that you’re saying –marriage, praying, the veil– are very good added values, but these problems are inescapable. I still see my parents, and they still try to convince me to get married. So it’s not an escape, but it does make the pressure lighter.
NM: In your opinion, is it important to develop friendship with your roommates?RM: No, being friend with my roommates is not essential. There are other things like respecting each other, being considerate and being able to have a conversation, which I think are more important. And being on the same page. It’s a very hard mix to live with someone who is fun but at the same time intellectual. For me, this is important. We don’t have to be BFFs, but I feel we need to have similar lifestyles.
NM: When you say “being able to have a conversation”, was this something you could have at your parent’s house?RM: Yes, but it wouldn’t be about topics that interested me. Just ordinary things, nothing too controversial.
NM: Not every topic was possible to tackle?RM: Sometimes, I just don’t have the energy. For example if we start talking about politics, I know it will end up badly. We will end up fighting, because we’re not on the same page. I don’t need to convince them, and they don’t need to convince me. So I don’t want to have this conversation at all.
NM: Did you take part to the protests in 2011?RM: Yes, but it’s very painful for me to talk about it. It makes me very sad. I feel it’s all for nothing. All the people who died. I am very inactive now. It’s not that I gave up. But to be honest, I feel there’s no hope.
NM: Is it important for you to share common political views and ideals with your flatmates?RM: I don’t know. I haven’t faced this issue, so I’m not sure.
NM: Do you think that a revolution in the street is possible without a revolution at home?RM: I think that both are very interlinked. It’s a chicken or egg question. Because a revolution in the street creates a revolution in the homes. In Egypt, it created conversations and debates. At the elections right after the revolution, it was really heated. People would read electoral campaigns, discuss candidates with each other. I think it gave people more confidence, because they felt that they fought for something and then won. It was like a validation. But it’s not the same anymore. We have not won, we lost. I think there are some changes that happened. At least in our consciousness. But I don’t think it translated in any real changes in the political system.
NM: Would you have moved out of your parent’s home, hadn’t the revolution happened?RM: Yes, I think that living abroad was a bigger factor for me. I don’t think that the revolution was what pushed me to do it.
NM: You said that the revolution activated exchanges, discussions between people. Do you see any changes within the private sphere that were triggered by the revolution?RM: It raised a lot of discussion on sexual harassment for example. Women claim more space and the violence is not going to push us away anymore. Other impacts on the private sphere? I think that compared to the past, there are more girls moving out. And you know it’s a bigger problem for girls than it is for boys. I feel that these girls are pioneers. Even if they’re not aware of it, they’re challenging a lot of stereotypes and they are challenging patriarchy too. All they want is just to have some space. But this is an act of defiance, because it says to the society «I don’t give a fuck about what you think.» But I think we need a bigger mass for us to be a critical mass. And you have to keep in mind that you need to be privileged to move out and live in Zamalek. You need to have a job that pays you well, to be financially independent. It’s not an option that a lot of people have.
NM: What would you say are the costs of this move?RM: I mean there is definitely the financial aspect. But for me it’s worth it. My peace of mind is more valuable. And then there’s also the psychological stress of dealing with my parents. There is a constant pressure on me. My mother specially, she tells me how much she misses me, how much she wants me to come home. She feels abandoned.
NM: Do you want to have your own family at some point?RM: I don’t want a family in a traditional heteronormative sense. If I meet someone, maybe I can get married. But I don’t want children. I don’t want to have expectations towards them. You think «I have invested so much of my life in these children, and this is how they treat me: they leave the house.»
NM: What does solidarity mean to you?RM: It means trying to understand each other, and not being judgmental of each other. Being united by an idea. This idea can be just that we’re human beings who are free to do what we want as long as we don’t hurt other people. It could be the revolution, it could be a simpler idea, it could be anything. But sometimes you can have solidarity manifested in very bad ways, like sexist men clubs. It’s also a form of solidarity. I think it needs some sort of agreement on the things that bind people together.
NM: Can you find this kind of solidarity in your family?RM: It’s a very tricky question. If I’m sick or if I need them, of course my family is going to help me. If they need me, I am going to be there for them. But do we have any kind of understanding or empathy for each other? I am not sure. I think we love and care about each other, because of biological reasons and because we’ve lived together. There’s a lot of common history. And gratitude. I love my parents, I don’t hate them. Sometimes I feel sorry for them, because I don’t think I am what they have imagined I would become. I challenge everything they believe in. I think it’s very hard to have a child like that. It was very important for me that I don’t lose my parents in this process. I never said «I am leaving and if you don’t talk to me I don’t care.» I kept talking and talking until we could find a compromise. It was very important for me not to lose them. A lot of people who move out have to take a decision between being their own independent selves or losing their parents. My parents in the end are quite open-minded, I am lucky. Some parents, and fathers specially, are way worth. They say things like “if you leave you’re not my daughter anymore!”
NM: This is very hard. Is there a place where one can get help or support if completely abandoned or rejected by the family?RM: There is actually solidarity between all Egyptians who don’t live with their parents. We actually have a small support group. With some friends, we meet and talk about it. And sometimes, there’s just not solution. I have friend, she just moved out. Every Friday she visits her family, and every Friday night she calls me crying. It’s very hard, so we have to support each other.
SPACIOUS DOWNTOWN APARTMENT TO SHARE WITH CARTOONIST
Noha Mokhtar: Hi, can you say a few words about yourself?Roommate: I am 25. I live in Downtown Cairo. I’ve been living on my own for the past 9 years. I used to be a dentist, I have a dental degree. Now I work as a cartoonist. That’s how I earn my living. I’m not interested in dentistry anymore. Most of my family is in the medical field. We belong to the middle class and we are Muslims. I mean me, I’m not really religious. As a teenager I always had this urge to speak up and challenge the traditions. When I was 16, I went to college in Cairo and after that I quickly found a job so I could afford to stay here on my own. But because rents in Downtown are a bit high, I need to find a flatmate.
NM: Where did you live before?RM: My parents use to live in Mansoura, where I grew up. Now they live in Tagamoa El Khamis, in New Cairo. I usually go see them once a week for 6-7 hours. Just a visit. Like a prison visit.
RM: Do you have to?RM: No, it’s something I want to. I can’t live with them under the same roof, but I can see them occasionally. I think in general it’s very hard to live with your family 24/7. And now we’re talking about parents who are older, who have very different backgrounds and experiences.
NM: When you decided to move out, how did you proceed?RM: Gradually. I told you that I studied dentistry in Cairo. To study far from my hometown was an alibi to move out. At the beginning I lived in the dorms. But it was so messy, that I stayed only 5 nights. I told my parents that I couldn’t stand the dorms, and that I was going to live with a friend in a shared flat. The deal was that I would live there for half of the week and the other half I would go home to my parents’. And step by step, I reduced the time I spent there to a few hours a week. So I didn’t experience the usual massive confrontation.
NM: Do you have siblings?RM: I have one younger brother and two sisters who are older. My brother is studying abroad. One of my sister got married, the other is a doctor. She wants to continue her training abroad too.
NM: Do you think that the fact that you moved out of your family house somehow influenced them in their choices?RM: Of course. I was the first experience for my parents and I opened the way for my brother. It was easier for him. As for my sister, I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but still, studying abroad became an option. I think that me moving out of the house and living independently made things easier for my sister too, at least indirectly.
NM: So there’s a sort of solidarity between you. You help each other.RM: Of course. It’s family.
NM: Have you ever traveled outside of Egypt?RM: Just once. To Mecca.
NM: How did you find the apartment you’re living in now?RM: I’ve been living in Downtown Cairo since many years. And I know some brokers. You have to know the brokers of your neighborhood. Usually when I want to change apartment, I go ask them if they have something that fits my criteria.
NM: So you didn’t use Craigslist or Facebook?RM: These platforms are good if you’re looking for a room or a flat to share, but if you’re looking for the whole apartment, it’s more convenient to work with brokers.
NM: Why did you chose Downtown Cairo?RM: I love the atmosphere here. Maybe it’s also somehow related to what we experienced after the revolution. And I feel at home here. There’s a lot of old cafés, places for the arts, things like that. It’s also more convenient for my work: a lot of agencies, specially magazines and newspapers are located around here.
NM: You posted an ad searching for a roommate. Did you find someone?RM: I found a German. A very sweet girl. She stayed for a few months and after she left, a friend of hers from India took over her room. He stayed for two months. Now I am looking for someone new. Both of my previous roommates were really great. For me it was an incredibly enriching cultural experience. Also a way to improve my English. But actually all this is new to me. Before that, I used to live with my friends, with Egyptians. Last year, I decided that I wanted to meet people from different backgrounds, who speak different languages. I am not against Egyptian flatmates, but foreigners have the advantage. So if I have a foreigner and an Egyptian and both look like decent guys, I would chose the foreigner.
NM: And does it matter if it’s a guy or a girl?RM: Yeah…well with foreigners it doesn’t matter. But if it’s an Egyptian girl, it’s not OK. It’s not fair, I know, but in Egypt if your flatmate is a girl…It could be a potential problem. The neighbors for example, if they want to put pressure on you, they can cause you problems very easily. My landlord, well my landlord is just picky about money, he doesn’t really care about who lives here. But the environment itself…You would be under the spotlight.
NM: You mean people would make comments or question you?RM: No, no one would say anything. But you have to be strict about it and make them understand that it’s not their business. You have to be polite, and strict. You have to adapt to your surroundings and keep things cool. And living with an Egyptian girl is a potential problem. So you want to avoid it. It’s not my choice, and it’s not even forbidden as such, but it’s just more convenient to chose a man if you want to avoid being in trouble.
NM: What would be the consequences?RM: For example, look my Indian flatmate: he’s that weird tattooed guy from that exotic culture. No one will comment on his comings and goings. People will say «he’s a foreigner». So if he comes home with a girl at night, no one would say anything. If an Egyptian girl would bring a guy home, even if it’s just a friend, people will keep track of her moves. They will make some statistics, keep record. Personally for me it’s not a problem at all, I am quite free to do what I want and have guests of any gender and nationalities. But I made it my rule to stay as discreet as possible. I will not come home very drunk, loud or causing any trouble. I am a decent and peaceful neighbor.
NM: Can you describe your apartment?RM: Well, the first thing you’ll see when you enter is the living room. It has three compartments. One is the sitting areas, with couches and chairs. The second one is for dining, with a big round dining table. This is where I usually work. The third is miscellaneous. In the back there’s one kitchen, one bathroom and two bedrooms. I have to say it’s a very large apartment. The bedrooms are not very big, which is a good thing actually. This way I spend a lot of time in the living room, working or hanging out with flatmates and having friends over. I used to have a small living room before that, and it really was a headache, because I don’t like having people come to my room. It’s important for me to have a line, to keep a certain privacy.
NM: Do you and your flatmates have specific rules regarding the apartment?RM: We don’t really have rules. For me, it’s important to be able to do whatever you want as long as you don’t disturb the others. The place has to stay clean. That’s it. And I need my space, because my apartment is also my working place.
NM: Is it important for you that you and your flatmates share similar political or religious views?RM: I mean specially in Egypt, it’s safer for you if you share the same religious views…No but seriously, I think that one learns more if you share your apartment with people who are not alike. But on the other hand, it’s sometimes just more convenient to spend time with people who share common interests. And it’s a fact that men like to talk about soccer and cars.
NM: What would you say is different between living with your family and living with flatmates?RM: The main difference is that now I am the alpha male. If you want to talk about it very frankly, that’s how it is. I can do whatever I want. The only thing is not disturb the others. Other than that…it’s your place, your territory. You can manage it however you want.
NM: So what are the things that you’re doing now that you couldn’t do at your parent’s home?RM: Your parents are constantly telling you what is haramand what is not. You have to pray, you can’t smoke, you can’t date, you can’t play some sort of music, can’t drink…you know. Your time is not yours, you do what they tell you. So it’s about personal space, personal freedom. And I think it’s normal for teenagers to be different, to have different opinions, different lifestyles.
NM: When you go back to see your parents once a week, how is your relationship?RM: With the time, it has improved. My family, I mean, I love them. And since we only meet few hours a week, we focus on sweet things to say to each other. We’re nice to each other and then everyone goes back to his life. But I thought that we were talking about apartments and flatmates, and now you’re asking me questions about my family.
NM: Isn’t it related? I want to understand why people decide to live with flatmates in Egypt. Someone told me that when she goes back to see her parents, usually once a week, they question and pressure her a lot. She said to me that she had to stay firm to keep things the way she wanted. So even if she’s not living with them anymore, they try to interfere. And often I hear that young people in Egypt suffer from emotional blackmail.RM: Yes! That’s very common. For example if, let’s say, I ask my mother about what’s the best way of cooking chicken, because you know she’s expert in that, she will say «come home I will cook you the best chicken». They’re still doing it, but it’s getting less and less, and they don’t really question me anymore about my personal life. Maybe it’s because at the beginning it really stressed me out. I will not say anything about the way I live my life unless I want you to know. And there’s the marriage thing of course. Specially my mother. «All your colleagues are getting married. Why not you? You’re getting old.»
NM: To come back to your apartment, what is the style of your furniture?RM: It’s very old fucked up furniture. The flat was furnished when I got it.
NM: And do you have a bawab in your building?RM: Yes, but he is a nihilist. He doesn’t care about anything and is very peaceful. He’s not very helpful, but not harmful either. He wants to keep things smooth.
NM: Good for you!RM: I know…
NM: Do you know if flatsharing is something new in Egypt?RM: It’s spreading, yes. And I think that the revolution also pushed people to do it more.
NM: Do you think that a revolution in the street is possible without a revolution at home?RM: I have heard this question a few times, but I actually don’t understand the value of this comparison. If you’re a poor man, you’re poor at home and you’re poor in the street…
NM: I am asking this because someone told me once that a friend of him was joining the crowd on Tahrir every day, and fighting alongside other young men and women. But at the same time forbid his own sister to go join the revolution.RM: I think it’s a class thing. If you belong to the middle class, you’re not living very well, but you have the chance to have an education, be literate, so you have the obligation to join the revolution. The guy you’re talking about, I think is one of the reasons why the revolution is dead now. But for me, when I went to revolution I learned so many things, changed my way of thinking and somehow this reflects in my house. My brothers, my sisters, we all took part to the revolution. The revolution changed me, and this in turn affected the people around me. Changes in the street make changes back at home.
NM: What does solidarity mean for you?RM: If we’re talking about flatmate situations, it’s about trying to understand each other’s point of view and being open to learn from each other. But it’s never a stable thing, it’s an ongoing process. You can be friend with someone for your whole life, and with some other you loose track. It depends on people’s personality and the type of sharing. the more you share, the more you’ll be close to someone.
NM: At some point, do you want to have your own family?RM: I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it. I mean I have a cat, he’s like my son. I could make a good father.
Noha is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard. She holds a BA of Arts in Photography from the University of Art and Design Lausanne as well as a BA of Arts in Social Anthropology from the University of Bern, Switzerland. Her research interests focus on Egypt, kinship, domesticity, architecture, and design. Noha also works as a visual. Through an interdisciplinary approach and the use of various media, such as photography, video, and installations, she develops a body of work that reflects on social and cultural issues.