Leader Resource 1: Culture and Hospitality
The Meredith Tax quote is taken from the pamphlet "The Power of the Word: Culture, Censorship, and Voice" by Meredith Tax with Marjorie Agosin, Ama Ata Aidoo, Ritu Menon, Ninotchka Rosca, and Mariella Sala, published by the Women's World Organization for Rights, Literature and Development, August 1995.
Culture is who we are and who we are becoming. It is the food we put on the table, the way we cook it, the utensils in which we eat it, the relations between the people who sit at the table and the people who cook and serve, what is done with the leftovers, what is discussed during the meal, what music, dancing, poetry or theatre accompany it, and the social and spiritual values of those present — for when we say culture, we include the visions, dreams and aspirations of humanity. — Meredith Tax, writer and political activist
The Arabs Used to Say
by Naomi Shihab Nye
The Arabs used to say,
When a stranger appears at your door,
feed him for three days
before asking who he is,
where he's from,
where he's headed.
That way, he'll have strength enough
Or, by then you'll be such good friends
you don't care.
Let's go back to that.
Rice? Pine nuts?
Here, take the red brocade pillow.
My child will serve water
to your horse.
No, I was not busy when you came!
I was not preparing to be busy.
That's armor everyone put on
at the end of the century
to pretend they had a purpose
in the world.
I refuse to be claimed.
Your plate is waiting.
We will snip fresh mint
into your tea.
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