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It may not be true that the Inuit language has 100 words for snow, but it is true that Arabic has many words that mean “love”.

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In a time and place where many people associate Arabs and Muslims only with war, and Islamophobia and race-baiting are on the rise, Bay Area artists chose this Valentine’s Day to hang this excerpt from Ahdaf Souief’s acclaimed novel Map of Love in highly visible public spaces.city center top

Bay Area Art Queers Unleashing Power (BAAQUP) posted this image and text in Oakland and Berkeley bus shelters early Wednesday morning, as a Valentine’s gift to our community.  The text, in English and Arabic, reads:

‘Hubb’ is love
‘عشق’ ‘ishq’ is love that entwines two people together,
‘شغف’ ‘shaghaf’ is love that nests in the chambers of the heart,
‘هيام\هام’ ‘huyam’ is love that wanders the earth,
‘تيم\تام’ ‘taym’ is love in which you lose yourself,
‘وله’ ‘walah’ is love that carries sorrow within it,
‘صبابة\صب’ ‘sababah’ is love that exudes from your pores,
‘هوى’ ‘hawa’ is love that shares its name with air and ‘falling’,
‘غرام’ ‘gharam’ is love that is willing to pay the price.
from Map of Love by Ahdaf Souief

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