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Symbolia is a digital magazine that blends comics and journalism, using the medium as a way to tell true stories. The format is particularly powerful on the Symbolia iPad and Kindle Fire apps, which bring in sound and other interactive features to enhance the storytelling, but it also has a PDF version that will work on any computer or tablet, albeit without the special features.
The latest issue, “Heroines,” features five first-person narratives from women around the world. All are powerful — the struggles of a Dalit (low-caste) woman in Nepal, the testimony of two women who were guards at Guantanamo — but the one that caught my eye was “Luna of Cairo,” the story of an American woman who works as a bellydancer on a tourist boat on the Nile.
Illustrated by Leela Corman (Unterzakhn), “Luna of Cairo” offers an inside look not only at the life of a bellydancer but also at the life of a foreigner in Egypt. The excerpt below focuses on the casual sexism that Luna and the other women of Egypt encounter every day — and its corrosive effects.
To read the rest of Luna’s story and meet other heroines, check out this month’s issue; Symbolia is reasonably priced at $2.99 per issue or $11.99 for a six-issue subscription.