They began with soft chanting and singing, three unremarkable women, one of them in traditional Muslim dress. Yet I was struck by the stunning variety in style and content of the narratives of the “Sisters of Story,” a small dramatic troupe on a mission.
They filed up to the platform last Thursday, singing and chanting a message of peace. They were not so much dressed to perform, as to incidentally share something. Rohina stood out in her traditional Muslim dress, and yet she seemed to retreat behind it in her opening story, expressing her traditional role.
All the more stunning was her second story of Laila, the young girl who found her voice on 9/11. Laila had been the meek young girl until the day she witnessed a white mob outside a mosque yelling for the worshippers to “Go back to your country!” in the wake of the World Trade Center bombing. Suddenly she confronted the loudest ones with demands that they stop and listen and understand. She stood right in the breach and yelled as no Muslim woman had ever been taught to do. And Rohina screamed from the stage as no Muslim woman had ever screamed in my hearing. The hiddenness of her attire seemed to fall off as she opened every stop in her throat in protest. It was shocking and inspiring.