The Middle East’s first all-women motor racing team has come together, despite the odds, in the occupied West Bank. As Palestine seeks its independence, the Speed Sisters must overcome the barriers that stand between them and their personal dreams.
Brought together by a common desire to live life on their own terms, several determined Palestinian women have taken on the street car speed test circuit of the West Bank—competing against each other for the title of fastest woman, for bragging rights for their home city, and to prove that women can compete head on with men in Palestine and beyond. Together they have been acclaimed as the first all-women motor racing team in the Middle East: the “Speed Sisters.” Each of these women has her own story and each is part of something more newsworthy than news: the daily reality and personal dreams that live on behind stock images and breaking news headlines from Palestine and the Middle East. The lives of the Speed Sisters are more complicated than the winding slalom course of their improvised time trial tracks. For them, motor racing is a small challenge compared to navigating the maps of daily life in a nascent state struggling with conflict and occupation, with development and politics, and with the tension, common around the world, between social expectations and personal choice for young women—in family, career, and love. The Speed Sisters are doing something very simple and yet very brave. They are resisting a reality that diminishes their dreams, that tells them their future is small, predictable. In pursuing their passions and the drive to move freely in the face of the shrinking horizons under a military occupation, they are planting hope in the eyes of those who watch them race. This gives them confidence to continue to pursue their own personal aspirations, even when doing so requires pushing social boundaries. Racing, then, is far more than a thrill for the Speed Sisters. Taking the wheel represents an insistence on the right to mobility, a taste of hope and independence, and the stubborn belief that a larger and wider future is possible in their lives as women and as Palestinians.