A Conversation with Saudi poet Nimah Nawwab

After school on Friday evening, my mum took me to a poetry event where Nimah Nawwab, a famous poet from Saudi Arabia was performing.  Saleha Begum, a local poet from Birmingham also read her poems from her new book called Ruptures and Fragments.

Before everyone arrived, I met Nimah and interviewed her about her new book, Canvas of the Soul. Her first book, Unfurling was a best seller.  She told me that her the poems in Canvas of the Soul are short and highly spiritual and very different to those in her first book, which were political and social.

Nimah explained that Saudi Arabia has has a rich history of poetry.  In ancient times, poetry was popular and people from different parts of the world would visit and have poetry competitions.  The winning poems would be written in gold and hung on the Kabbah.  She says poetry in Saudi Arabia is still popular and used at weddings and traditional ceremonies.

Nimah also gave me a long list of her favourite poets from all over the world from past and present. Some of these included, Jalaludin Rumi, Rabia Basri, as well as Japanese and African American poets.

It was really interesting and fun to interview Nimah Nawwab!


Bollywood Brothers

Recently I met two Bollywood stars, the Deol Brothers, Bobby Deol and Sunny Deol – can you believe that? 

My uncle, Asjad Nazir, knows lots of famous people and took us (my mum,  my brother and I) to the film set for Yamla Pagla Deewana 2, where Bobby Deol was shooting a scene on his ‘four looks.’  He would start off facing forward and when the director said first look, he looked to his right. Then the director said second look and he faced forward again from where he started.  His third look was little to the left and his fourth one all the way to the left! While he was acting he looked very cold and was shivering – acting is not always as glamorous as you may think.

When he finished shooting, my uncle interviewed him while we listened to Bobby’s answers – I was sitting next to him! At the end of the interview I was planning to ask him something and when it came to the end, I asked: “Bobby Deol Sir, please may i have you autograph.” By the time I left i had a    piece of paper that was signed by  him saying: “To Aaliyah, lots of love, Bobby Deol….

Next it was time to meet Sunny Deol, his older brother.  We took a walk to a hotel where Sunny was staying and met him inside his room.  Then my uncle interviewed Sunny Deol.  At the end of the interview, I also asked him if I could have his autograph.  By the time I left, I had a piece of paper that was signed by Sunny Deol saying: “Dear Aaliyah, wish you all the best, love Sunny Deol.”

Age No Bar for Action








My article was published in the Eastern Eye on 18th May 2012!

I went with my mum, Shaista Gohir to the AWID forum (Istanbul 2012). More than 2000 women from 140 countries attended the event.  I interviewed the following women at the event:

  • Fawzia Koofi (MP from Afghanistan)
  • Zainah Anwar (Director of Musawah, a global Muslim women’s movement – Malaysia)
  • Lydia Alpizar Duran (Executive Director of AWID – Mexico)
  • Anna Pelagie (activist – Cameroon)
  • Ester Jarome and Mwandiwe Kali – (farmers from Tanzania)
  • Zoe Blumenfield (Communocation Officer from Global Fund for Women – US)
  • Nannyondo Sarah (student activist – Uganda)
  • Dr Tahmineh Danioli (activist – Iran)
  • Shaista Gohir (my activist mum  – UK)

My Interview with Afghan MP Fawzia Koofi

I went to the AWID forum in Istanbul in April 2012.  It was an international event attended by more than 2000 women from more than 140 countries. I interviewed a number of activists. Here is my interview with Afghan MP Fawzia Koofi.

Why Mother’s are Special?

Mothers are special.

Mothers give life to us and even throughout our lives, they are always there for us.  They are there from when we are a new born baby, to a toddler, to that in between stage of 5-12 years, to a teenager, and to an adult.  In each stage of our lives, we give our mothers different things to worry about.

They think of us before they think of themselves:

  • They will thirst for us
  • They will starve for us
  • They will die for us

Mothers are special.

Pretty Clever

“I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.”

This sentence was written on girls tops which were being sold in America. Lots of mums were angry about the slogan because it is saying that girls aren’t smart but boys are. I agree with the mums and i wouldn’t want my my mum to buy me a top like that because I am smart. Girls can be clever and pretty..

My mum got worried when she read about the story and looked in my wardrobe to check if she had accidentally bought me any T-shirts with negative slogans. All my T-shirts were fine.

I have two brothers, one is seven years old and the other one is ten years old. They have superheroes on their tops. They are being told that they are strong and powerful. Girls should be told they have ‘girl power’ because girls can do anything!

Britain’s Burning

I haven’t written a blog for one year because I have been busy painting, but I felt angry about the rioting so I thought I should write about it.

There has been rioting in the UK by some young people. I think that is very shocking. On TV, they showed what the rioters have done. The images were horrifying which showed smashed shop windows, as well as cars and buildings on fire. This scared me because I thought that the trouble could spread to where I live and me and my family could get hurt.

Young people shouldn’t be doing this. They don’t have any manners and respect for the rest of us and that is not right. The rioters should be made to fix and replace everything. They are just greedy and need to be made to learn that stealing is wrong. They should work hard and save if they want something, like I do.

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