January 26, 2024

The Words to Say It

What it means to have words—and to lose them.

A family. Mother and four children with arms around each other, dad in foreground taking the family selfie.

Photo courtesy Youmna ElSayed, pictured here with her husband and four children.



Sometimes we don’t want to say what’s going on because putting it into words would make it real. At other times, words don’t seem to capture the weight of what we want to say. Susanna Fogel talks about her friend Margaret Riley, who died earlier this week. (6 minutes)

Act One

The Speaking Part

The story of a woman from Gaza City who ran out of words. Seventy-two days into the war, Youmna stopped talking. (27 minutes)

​​We first heard Youmna on Al Jazeera’s podcast The Take.