If one word could etch and evoke Nawal, it would be SMILE, all caps, all-pervasive. She never ceased to find joy even amid pain, injustice, alienation, and, for her worst of all, indifference to the suffering of others. Her life redefined compassion as the benchmark of humanity, and she projected that value through her writing, speaking, and protesting but also her teaching and mentoring of others.

“Bruuuuce,” she would often exclaim to me, elongating my name with her daunting smile, “Bruuuuce, I don’t teach what I know, I teach only what I have lived.” I have numerous impressions of her in the classroom, but one is especially vivid and true to the élan of this woman whose zestful spirit was at once outrageous and contagious. She came to one of my classes as a guest lecturer to share with undergraduates her experience as an activist in 1980s Egypt. Delayed...

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