What is it really like to be an Arab woman? Inundated by a cacophony of competing perspectives on a daily basis, CEO and President of K.E. Kanoo Company in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Suzy Kanoo set out to elevate the voices she was hearing least: Arab women.
Herself an Arab woman living and working in the Arab world, she loves her homeland and its unique culture and history. Yet, for much of the West, her world remains a mystery, and the lived experiences of those in the Arab world is generalized or glossed over.
While Kanoo doesn’t aim to dispel the lingering cliches of a mysterious Arab world, it is important to her that readers—especially those in the West—recognize that her country, her culture, and her people are diverse and dynamic, irreducible to a monolith. “My goal,” Kanoo says, “is to introduce certain subjects that should be discussed, elevating voices that have often been relegated to the shadows. I believe it is crucial these voices be heard.”
With her new book, Hear Us Speak, Suzy Kanoo brings those marginalized voices—voices of Arab women—out of the shadows and into the light. Arab women from all walks of life were interviewed for her book, ranging from painters and journalists; wives, daughters and mothers; entrepreneurs and refugees; social media influencers and ordinary citizens.
Many women who shared their stories with Suzy have survived horrific ordeals of physical and emotional abuse; many who have been incarcerated for expressing their opinions on social media; whose husbands kidnapped their children and fled the country; women who worked harder but inherited less than their brothers, simply because they were women.
And yet, the emergent theme of these stories is that these women had emerged without hatred or bitterness. They have not been crushed by circumstances. They have faced insurmountable odds and survived.
A book by and for women, Hear Us Speak promises to leave an indelible mark on its readers, and hopefully, make a lasting, positive change in the world.