Take Off From the Sand

What is your favorite scene in Aladin?? For me it is the one when he invites her to fly and they both go singing “A Whole New World” while sitting on the flying carpet. How romantic! How cute! How thrilling! Can’t u imagnie yourself seeing the whole world from above? (tab3an it will be much better if I had prince charming sitting next to me 😉 ) ….. ma 3aleina…

I think this was the first time I feel this spirit for flying. Later on I discovered that one of my female relatives actually did fly when she was young (it was in the 1940’s or something!),,, still,, my parents refused anything risky related to the air (I suggested flying and parachuting). So flying was was left among the hidden dreams I had. 

I tried for a while to dig on the possibility of flying, and I discovered that there is actually a club for amateurs aviators here in Cairo, and that they used to fly regularly, but now their activities are halted (due to $%^$%&!#$%%^%@!@#$). El mohem… I’m still waiting for this  $%^$%&!#$%%^%@!@#$ to finish so I can feel this thrill of taking off!

Then I discovered by mere chance about this amazing woman! I was checking out the new page in the arabist.net, it’s called Hatshepsut about feminism in the arab world (it is really a nice blog), and I found this article about Latifa El Nadi. It was my first time to hear about her!


I was SOOOOOOOOOO excited!!!!!

I was talking to my grandmother about this woman, and guess what! I discovered that my very own grandmother is named after this woman! I always wondered about the name of my grandmother (Lotfeya), and now I know!!!

El Mohem…

Here is some info about Lotfeya El Nadi:

At the age of 26, she became the first Egyptian woman to fly a plane between Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt.

She had a strict upbringing. To achieve her dream -in a time when Egyptian women fought to obtain equal rights- Lotfia had to distract her father to be able to attend flying lessons twice a week without his knowledge or consent.

When asked about the true reason of why she wanted to fly, she said “I learned to fly because I love to be free.”

More about her from El Thawra:

أوائل نشأتها عام 1932 ولم يكن معها نقود لان والدها فض هذه الفكرة فلجأت إلى كمال علوي مدير عام مصر للطيران وعندها فكر بالأمر وطلب منها أن تعمل في المدرسة وبمرتب الوظيفة يمكنها سداد المصروفات , ووافقت لطيفة على ذلك وعملت سكرتيرة بمدرسة الطيران إلى أن حصلت على إجازة طيار خاص سنة 1933 وكان رقمها 34 أي لم يتخرج قبلها على مستوى مصر سوى 33 طيارا فقط جميعهم من الرجال

I also discovered that there is a documentary movie about her! It is called “Take Off From the Sand” إقلاع من الرمال , directed by Wagueh George. The director uses this portrait of an outstanding individual to show how Egyptian women fought for years to obtain equal rights in a patriarchal nation and culture – rights seriously threatened till today. (for  glimpses of the movie, click here)



One response to “Take Off From the Sand

  1. Indeed, a story that should make Egyptians proud. The contrast between- how pioneering, entrpreneurial and rebelious Egyptians used to be and how passive wahabist unthinking machines they have become in the 21st century, to the extent that some of them are impressed by fanatic Irani and wahabi retarded models- is very sadening

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