A Palestinian woman is breaking boundaries by pursuing a life as a racecar driver, a pastime that she says help her to “feel free” even as the place she identifies as home, East Jerusalem and the West Bank, remain under Israeli occupation. Noor Daoud, a Texas-born polyglot who attended a French school in Jerusalem, was the only woman competing at a recent “drift” racing competition at Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Daoud, 27, regularly takes part in international competitions that feature drift — a technique that involves deliberately oversteering to allow the car to slide seamlessly through sharp 180 degree turns — and says she hopes to see other Arab women follow in her footsteps. To that end, she and four other Palestinian women racers were featured in a documentary released three years ago called Speed Sisters.
“At first, in Palestine, people would say to me: ‘But what are you doing? The sport is for the guys!’” said Daoud, recalling when she first started learning how to drift in Palestine. “I went for what I want I didn’t listen to anyone … When I got successful people started to respect me (and say) ‘wow, she did it! … Let Arab girls show the world that we also follow our dreams.” She documents her racing adventures, which include riding motorcycles as well, on her Instagram page. “Act like a lady, drift like a boss!” is the tagline that adorns the top of the page.
Daoud, who now lives in Dubai, has long defied the conservative cultural norms that restrict many Arab women. Ever since she was a young girl, she says, she’d always been comfortable “meeting up with the guys to play football or tennis.” But her pursuit of racing, she adds, is also symbolic of her feelings about Palestine, the place she considers her true home.
“I want to show the world that just because we are under occupation, it doesn’t mean we will stay holed up in our homes,” she said. “We are under occupation so this helps us, it helps me to drive to feel free.”
Watch video of Daoud in action below.
VIDEO: Noor Daoud was the only woman to take to the track in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where the Palestinian racer impressed the crowds with her "drift" driving skills.
Posted by AFP News Agency on Wednesday, October 10, 2018
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