|Photo by Tony Demin|
Yesterday, I drove five hours just to see Ayaan Hirsi Ali at the Opera House in Traverse City, Michigan. The Opera House was packed. She was the first guest speaker in the National Writers Series. I sat on the first floor, only a few rows from the front. Last year, I read her books, Infidel and Caged Virgin while Nomad is on my bookshelf waiting to be read (I needed a small break from the topic). Ayaan is an elegant, soft spoken, yet strong woman, whom I admire very much. She was interviewed by Jack Segal for the first part of the lecture. She talked about Islam, women's rights, education for women, the Taliban, and religious tolerance. In 2005, she was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time Magazine. The second half she took questions from the audience. I had my question ready. I stood up with a pounding heart, trying to calm myself down in the process. The words were jumbled that came out of my mouth, but I got the point across eventually. She understood my meaning and elaborated on the answer for several minutes. She is brave for speaking out like she does. I take my hat off to her.