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The Long Way – Excerpt from Guapa / Saleem Haddad

The Long Way – Excerpt from Guapa / Saleem Haddad

The memory returns to me so vividly I feel I am back there, at 14, in the backseat of that taxi. At the time my father had been dead for 18 months, my mother had vanished the year before that, I was magically sprouting hair in places I was not expecting, and I was still sharing a bed with Teta. I was returning from a history lesson at Maj’s house. We were both struggling with the … Read entire article »

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The Writer and the Taboo: with Naser Al Zafiri

The Writer and the Taboo: with Naser Al Zafiri

Naser Al Zafiri is an Arab-Canadian writer and novelist based in Ottawa. He has written five novels and two collections of short stories. He has published numerous articles in Arab literary magazines and newspapers. In his work, Naser tackles controversial themes such as nationalism, power structure, and gender issues in the Arab World. In this interview, he eloquently elaborates on  addressing taboos in his novels and articles. 1. Do you think that writing about taboos is really necessary? It is necessary to break religious and … Read entire article »

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A Moment in Ramallah / John Berger

A Moment in Ramallah / John Berger

Certain trees – particularly the mulberries and medlars – still tell the story of how long ago, in another life, before the nakba, Ramallah was, for the well-off, a town of leisure and ease, a place to retreat to from nearby Jerusalem during the hot summers, a resort. The nakba refers to the ‘catastrophe’ of 1948 when ten thousand Palestinians were killed and 700,000 were forced to leave their country. Long ago, newly married couples planted … Read entire article »

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Orientalism is a cultural and a political fact / Edward Said

Orientalism is a cultural and a political fact / Edward Said

Orientalism is not a mere political subject matter or field that is reflected passively by culture, scholarship, or institutions; nor is it a large and diffuse collection of texts about the Orient; nor is it representative and expressive of some nefarious “Western” imperialist plot to hold down the “Oriental” world. It is rather a distribution of geopolitical awareness into aesthetic, scholarly, economic, sociological, historical, and philological texts; it is an elaboration not only of a … Read entire article »

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In Jerusalem / Mahmoud Darwish

In Jerusalem / Mahmoud Darwish

In Jerusalem, I mean within the old wall, I walk from one era to another without a memory guiding me. And the prophets there distribute the history of the holy amongst themselves…They ascend to the heavens and return with less frustration and sadness, for love and peace are holy, and both come into the city. I used to walk above a slope and ponder: how could the narrators differ when speaking of light in a stone? Is it that from a scarcely lit … Read entire article »

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The Writer and the Taboo: with Raji Bathish

The Writer and the Taboo: with Raji Bathish

Raji Bathish is a writer, screenplay writer, cultural researcher and  activist born in Nazareth 1970. He writes in Arabic, and his texts and articles have been published all around the Arab world and Israel-Palestine. Raji has authored nine books, the most popular among them is “A Room in Tel-Aviv”, which was published by the Arab institute for Studies and Research in Beirut 2007. Raj is known for his controversial style, where he approaches the themes of sexual … Read entire article »

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Rabaa / Alexander Jabbari

Rabaa / Alexander Jabbari

“Created sick, commanded to be sound” (Fulke Greville, Mustapha, 1609) I. I often exaggerate, in my imagination, the relationship between feelings and the body. Of course such a relationship is real: hairs stand on end; blood runs cold, or flushes the cheeks, or swells in extremities; the heart rate quickens; sweat beads; hands tremor or become clammy; and on, and on, and on. But my mind had a tendency to create new symptoms and metaphors, like something from … Read entire article »

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The Writer and the Taboo: with Liwaa Yazji

The Writer and the Taboo: with Liwaa Yazji

Born in Moscow 1977, Syrian writer and artist Liwaa Yazji (Filmmaker, poet, playwright, scenarist and translator) was educated in both English Literature and Theater Studies in Damascus, Syria. Since then she has worked as a freelance dramaturge, TV scriptwriter, translator, and critic. She has published in several newspapers and magazines. She published her first play “Here in the Park” in 2012, a poetry book “In Peace, we leave Home” in 2014, and a translation of Edward Bond`s play … Read entire article »

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A Love That Hovers Like a Bedeviling Mosquito / Shatha Abu Hnaish

  My Husband and I My husband is a gardener Every morning he trims my leaves watering me counting my petals checking my color and he takes care that no one pick me My husband is a logger embedding his ax in my trunk splitting me and he kindles a fire in my heart My husband is a knight mounting my lust He bridles me and jumps me over love’s hills أنا وزوجي زوجي جنائني كل صباح يشذّب أوراقي يرويني يعدّ بتلاتي يطمئن على لوني ويحرص ألّا يقطفني احد زوجي حطّاب يغرس فأسه في جذعي يقطعني ويشعل النّار في قلبي زوجي فارس يمتطي شهوتي يلجمني ويقفز بي فوق تلال الحب Five Pieces of Paper First Piece I am a woman, keen as a knife’s blade This is as not bad as you think With me, you can peel love’s delicious apple and gouge a deep furrow in the world’s face Second Piece I am a woman, bottomless as an abyss This is not as frightening as you think With me, you can tempt the edge and … Read entire article »

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The Writer and the Taboo: with Karl Sharro

The Writer and the Taboo: with Karl Sharro

Karl Sharro is a Lebanese-Iraqi architect, writer and satirist based in London. He is mostly known for his blog Karl reMarks on which he published satirical accounts of the Arab uprisings between 2011 and 2015. Karl reMarks is also his satirical Twitter alter ego where he publishes his satirical images and commentary, such as ‘the one sentence explanation for the rise of ISIS’. He has written for several international publications on issues such as art, architecture, urbanism … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arab lit and art, English