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Articles tagged "Freedom"

Declining Freedom

Translator’s Note:  In Wajdi al-Ahdal’s novel Donkey in the Choir, Tha’ira, the rebellious wife of a Yemeni politician, has neglected work on her master’s degree since her marriage to Ali Jibran.  Morning excursions through Sanaa provide her some relief from the boredom of her sequestered life. Meanwhile a serial killer has moved into the Hulqum neighborhood of Sanaa. Once the killing spree begins, the subsequent police investigation quickly identifies a...

The Silence of the Outcasts: An Interview with Dacia Maraini

(Pescasseroli, Easter 2005) To meet with Dacia Maraini and speak with her in peace means going up to the bitter and severe lands of Abruzzo where the writer, who lives in Rome, takes refuge during holidays and in summer. This March, Easter concludes a winter of polar temperatures and the snow in the National Park of Abruzzo remains plentiful. Dacia Maraini loves cross-country skiing and walking in the woods; this is her natural realm, and she settles here to write her books in solitude...


I have a feeling that it is a mistake to go to the party at Mr. M.'s, especially under the circumstances. Things have tightened up once more. Again scarves have to be pulled down all the way to the eyebrows and legs covered in thick, black stockings. Again the loose-fitting, ankle-length smocks have to be worn. They are once again slashing women's bare legs with razors and shaving the heads of young boys or publicly flogging them in city squares. And yet no one is really scared or...

I Look Around Me

With the alertness of a creature expecting its demise I usually look around me. Perhaps that is why my neck has a strength that does not match my body, and what is surprising is that I do not foresee live bullets from empty side streets or scissors- as a silent way of killing- but flashing glances from eyes I barely glimpse but that can do what must be done.

High Fidelity

They'll be free from the gramophone's pain, its torture from the rub and the needles. Chaste, they'll not know the sin of singing a capella while hungry caught between the farce and the fair. The men who stay at home humming soft melodies will acquire wisdom. A fortunate life, serene happiness will be theirs and their children's. As light as ash. As clear as eternity. For the next poem in this sequence, please click here.

from The Ministry of Pain

Like the desert the northern landscape makes for absolutism. Except that in the north the desert is green and full of water. And there are no temptations, no roundnesses or curves. The land is flat, which makes people extremely visible, and that in turn is visible in their behaviour. The Dutch are not much for contact; they are for confrontation. They bore their luminous eyes into those of another and weigh his soul. They have no hiding places. Not even their houses. They leave their...

from The Asylum Seeker

One evening, after weeks of something like forty jars of vitamins and dozens of liters of strawberry juice, the Bird asks: "Would you mind if I got married?" In that marrying, Beck sees his enemy's final victory. They were man and wife already, without having to get married. "Why?" he asks. "Why get married? It's been fine, it will keep being fine for years." "Not to you," she says, "to someone else." Someone else, two words that pretty much sum up their relationship. It...

Freedom Can Be a Nightmare: An Interview with Kader Abdolah

This interview was originally published August 12, 1995, in NRC Handelsblad. A unique phenomenon in Dutch literature: Kader Abdolah, a political refugee from Iran who writes little gems of stories—in Dutch. It took him only five years to master the language. How did he do it? And what keeps him going? Kader Abdolah talks about his "terrible youth" in Iran, the struggle against the Shah and Khomeini, and about the exile's dilemma. "The Dutch language is overflowing the banks of...

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