Portrait of an Indigene

 

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I will write Meni’s story backwards: a couple of days ago, a hot summer day in Paris, I am discovering a small Kurdish restaurant in the company of Meni, disregarding our initial choice for the overhyped Italian spot next door. Me and Meni share the same enthusiasm for food, deep conversations, laughing in adversity and overall life. Being out of a computer for days I didn’t watch Meni’s first video « lifestyle of an indigène » on her blog, which she was right to summon me for, but today I did.

Indigène from Tunisia to the World

Imen also known as Meni is herself an indigene, an indigenous from Tunisia. She portrays the lifestyle of an indigene on her blog that I in turn commend you to read (here),

Her first video is about her travel to Tunisia interviewing locals. In a clear confident voice that I am now familiar with, Meni narrates a facade of the Arab World that is welcoming, a Tunisian youth that is hopeful, maybe somewhat nostalgic of the legacy late President Habib Bourguiba left behind. My father while looking at Meni’s video which mentions Bourguiba several times, recalled with emotion his own name Farhat was in honor of Farhat Hached, leader of the Tunisian resistance along with Habib Bourguiba.

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Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba, first President of Tunisia after its independance (1903-2000)

One of the locals she interviewed  is from Amazigh decent, the main indigenous tribe in North Africa where my father comes from. Indigenous culture in that sense fully resonates with me because of my roots and as a global citizen, unlocking the nationalistic myth that identity is monolithic.

Behind Lifestyle of an Indigene, lies the globally federating spirit of indigenes : you, me, us.

Social Media and Atey time

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I discovered her months ago on social media, and wrote to her on a rainy morose day “thank you for making me smile today”.

We connected virtually as if we knew each other for a while, genuine good vibes only. Social media is undoubtedly a catalyst for creating positive interconnections when used adequately. We sat down for a tea, Atey in Moroccan, and then for a second one at the Grand Mosque of Paris for the interview (keep scrolling)

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Meni and I at the Grand Mosque of Paris

The embodiment of true positivity

A 37 bold and fierce single Arab woman, Meni quit her upcoming job as an international media manager to pursue her calling in comedy. This year it will be the second time she performs transatlantic, in New York. She is currently preparing the french version of her standup comedy. The difference between a dream and a calling is how you act on it.

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A pragmatic woman, Meni spreads positivity, talking about finding your Ikigai in her Instagram stories or ranting humoristically about public transportation in an absolute realistic manner. Nothing edulcorated.

Capturing Meni’s positive instagram stories

In a nutshell : find your purpose, smile at life, laugh with Meni, onwards and upwards.

Without further ado, our energetic interview for the Empowerment chronicles. Thank you to my Law PhD camarade Dalila on the camera logistics. Logistics which are still quite rustic, so please bare with my in progress tech skills.

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