In a space within which “dialogues from the diaspora” resound, identity is a potent and recurrent theme that cannot be overlooked. In the United Arab Emirates, the fragmentation of identity is observable on both a societal level and a personal level: the multiplicity of cultures is inevitably reflected in the individual. The pieces in this issue of Asrar: Dialogues from the Diaspora represent both the gift and struggle of defining identity in a society where the word itself is synonymous with difference. But it is precisely this difference that Asrar celebrates in this issue.
In “To Become an Indian: An Exploration of Kamal's Ambiguous Identity in The Magic of Saida,” Ayesha Alshared explores the relationship between the main character Kamal’s age and his ambiguous identity. Nahla Elsubeihi’s “Libyan Arabic: Issues in Language Contact and Identity” examines the use of linguistic accommodation by Libyans living in the UAE, which allows them to conceal their Libyan identity in verbal interactions with other Arabs. Maliha Bari addresses the prevailing issue of child marriage in the rural areas of Pakistan in her play “I Don’t.” Finally, in this issue AUS alumnus Arfah Siddiqui reviews a visit to the university by renowned author Kamila Shamsie, who spoke to the attendees about her latest novel A God in Every Stone and the way in which national identity and one’s sense of self are not necessarily reflective of each other.
We, the editors, have witnessed this journal grow from a mere idea to a thriving intellectual dialogue. While we are happy to move forward onto new things, we will always cherish the experience of bringing Asrar to life. We leave this now to the new editors in the hopes that Asrar will continue to inspire the diaspora of American University of Sharjah students to let their voices be heard.
Farah Nada, Iffat Siddiqui, Israa Tariq, and Marziah Rashid