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“Exactly Similar”: from Mecca to Charlottesville

In the mid-1950’s a Saudi company approached my father, Moussa Wahba, an Egyptian import exporter of textiles from cotton goods to keffiyehs, and fine porcelain. His impeccable track record with the Gulf states was about to give him a huge order. The request was specific: 1600 military uniforms for the Saudi army “exactly the same” as U.S. army. My father with the help of Nomura Trading, secured an empty warehouse and enough sewing machines for the project. Finding the seamstresses was the easy part in postwar Japan. But how could he promise “exactly the same”? “I didn’t know what to do… and then I realized, I could promise ‘exactly similar!’” It was a huge order, one that would give us the

Rachel Wahba is a writer, psychotherapist, and co-founder of Olivia Travel/Companies. An Iraqi -Egyptian Jew, born in India, she grew up in Japan. 

The many dimensions of 

displacement and exile are a constant theme in her work as a writer, therapist, and in her activism as a Mizrahi Jew who grew up stateless. 

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© Copyright 2015 Rachel Wahba Writer, Speaker, Psychotherapist