October 8, 2011

The Meaning of Thawra

'Thawra' is the transliterated form of a word in Arabic which means uprising, revolt or revolution.

Not unlike many others growing up in the 60s and 70s, my parents more than sympathized with revolutionary ideals. Within such circles, my father apparently met a woman of Arabic descent who suggested this as a potential name for me and sure enough, with some tweaking of the letters thankfully, little miss Zaura was born. Smack in the middle of Hurricane David, considered one of the deadliest hurricanes in the latter part of the 20th century with a death toll of over 2000 unfortunate souls, mostly in Dominican Republic but also affected the rest of the Caribbean and the eastern front of USA. So I was born in complete and utter chaos and I mean revolution. Not a bad entrance into this world huh?

A few months ago, I considered getting a tattoo with the word Thawra in Arabic. This is what it would have looked like:


A quick reflection on the current state of world affairs was sufficient to uncover the potentially dangerous implications of traveling around the globe with such a significant concept tattooed on my arm.

With vivid imagination, I pictured situations such as the following, upon arriving at JFK airport in New York City:

-US Immigration Officer: Ma'am, what is the meaning of this jiberish you have here?
-Me: It means revolution in Arabic. Sir.
-US Immigration Officer: Kindly step over this way and follow me into my office please.

Almost as insidious as uttering the word 'bomb' inside an airplane.

On a related sidenote, here are some interesting findings about the meaning and usage of 'zaura', which I've encountered over the years:

  • A US-based company called Zaura Technologies. They had a very nice website a few years back but seemed to have disappeared off the map. Every so often I check on the domain registration information for zaura.com hoping it becomes available one day but they keep renewing it. To that I say.. If it didn't work out, let it go! Let some other Zaura out there have a crack at it.
  • A small populated area called Zaura in the Kano region of Nigeria.
  • A stream named Zaura in Russia about 3056km from Moscow. To be more precise, its exact coordinates are latitude of 53.83 (53° 49' 60 N) and longitude of 86.17 (86° 10' 0 E).
  • An elegant model of formal gown in a collection from OroNovias Group called Zaura, which ironically I would totally wear. Minus the big puffy flower on my head. See for yourself here.

Apart from that, surprisingly more and more people these days are named Zaura and it's also a last name, which apparently originated in the region of Murcia in Spain.

Many believe, myself included, that our names play a significant role in determining and shaping our destiny. Others believe one's name will invariably affect the personality he/she will eventually develop. Some researchers have even established a connection between people's names and the illnesses they are likely to develop later in life. We grow into our names, so to speak. As far as epic names go, I'd say mine is not an easy one to live up to but nevertheless, I'll give it my best.


  1. We chose your name with lots of love, my dear Little Zaura, in the hopes that one day you might become one of the "good ones", committed to change towards a better society and a better planet. As you are already doing.
    Kisses from mom.

  2. Thank you Mami :) I have a long way to go. Hopefully you will see that all the times you had to chase me around with a broomstick or throw one of your shoes at me from across the living room have not been in vain. Just kidding!

  3. Muy buena descripción del significado con sello y todo de tu nombre Zaura, espero puedas escribir también en español.

  4. Hay que ir creando la marca jeje El blog en español viene por ahí :)

  5. Keep up the blog lil Miss Revolution!

  6. ¡Esto me encanta! Every year I start the school year with an assigment called "To Say the Name is to Say the Story". This lesson is part of "getting acquaintance" in the classroom. Besides that idea, my main purpose is to teach my student that for the most part every mother/ parent had about nine months to come up with a name for them and it is a hard choice. I have them search their name on Google, study its etymology and describe their feelings. Thus far it has been a very successful lesson in my classroom.

    I also show them examples of this type of topic, such as, Sandra Cisnero "My Name" and would like to ask for your permission to share with them this start of school year.