Only Half

Both Lola and Marissa’s fathers immigrated to the US from the Middle East--Lola’s father from Iraq and Marissa’s from Iran. One day while talking, they realized that they identified to their cultures in similar ways--both being half Middle-Eastern American women living in the United States. In having these contrasting multi-cultural backgrounds, both have felt like outsiders looking in on both cultures. Through their father’s choices to more fully assimilate, both Lola and Marissa have looser ties to cultural practices, including language barriers. Through different mediums and fruit as a link, both explore what identity means to each of them. Lola is a white-passing half-Palestinian, quarter German womyn. Her family originates from a tribe in Ramallah just 10 miles north of Jerusalem. Palestine is currently under occupation and since the 40’s, it has quickly changed into a small territory in Israel. The Palestinian flag is comprised of red, black, green and white--the same colors of a watermelon. Because of this, the eating of this fruit has become an act of resistance.  With no tools but her bare hands, Lola sat down with a watermelon and tried to break it open. It took a long time,but with the taste of rind in her mouth, she opened the hard fruit and entered into a culture that she was not given the tools to be a part of. Marissa is a maybe not-so-white-passing Persian, Turkish, Southern European womyn. Her father’s family originates from Tehran, Iran. The youngest of five siblings, he was the only one to marry outside of the culture and because of this, Marissa has always felt tentative about her acceptance into her heritage. Focusing on the image of a pomegranate, a fruit native to Iran, Marissa uses her writing in order to explore the lack of space for an individual of mixed ancestry.

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