Study Guide

A Border Passage Epilogue

By Leila Ahmed

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Cairo Moments

  • Ahmed relates her return to Cairo after many years. There are huge changes to the city in general, but the most important has to do with Ain Shams. It's just gone.
  • Zatoun was still a school. But she can't visit it since the traffic in Cairo now is insane.
  • Ahmed is shocked to see women wearing hijab. She understands that these women are educated and professional, and that the veil no longer means oppression. But wow.
  • She's exhilarated by the feeling that Egypt is alive, like it was in the pre-Nasser era.
  • Ahmed sees that this excitement and sense of freedom is threatened by fundamentalism but that freedom is more valuable because of this threat.
  • Violence is now a part of the lives of everyone in the Muslim world—especially those who think or write about Islam.
  • During her stay, Ahmed tapes a series of interviews with Cairene women from different social classes. Some of the women have truly difficult lives and stories.
  • While she is visiting, Nini Shaarawi (great-grandaughter of Huda) offers to take Ahmed to Arafa, the City of the Dead.
  • Since Ahmed has never visited her parents' graves, she's pleased to go. But the City of the Dead really is a city—with confusing roads and districts—and she can't find them.

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