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Articles tagged "Imprisonment"

Dasht-e Leili

After the doors were shut, the tomblike cargo container had become dark. With our hands and feet bound with the fabric of our own turbans, we had fallen on top of each other and the only thing we could see was the glitter of each others’ eyes. Outside, the sun was shining, which made the air inside the container hot and close. * They had given us nothing to eat or drink all day. Before, the soldiers in camouflage uniforms, some of whom were constantly riding around us on...

Run

To Tonino, for the bracelet. Every time I cross this street, I always choose the same spot: I walk sort of kitty-corner from the traffic island, or straight as an arrow along the crosswalk, as if the cars had stopped to let me pass. Or else, stepping down from the trolley, without an umbrella, I run to take shelter under the awning outside the pharmacy. But I always cross Via Marina at this same spot, I don't do it on purpose—that is, I do it on purpose, but without wanting...

An Interview with Wu Wenjian

From the series "Eternal Sorrow," by Wu Wenjian With the help of two artist friends, I recently met Wu Wenjian, a worker-turned-painter, at the 798 Arts Factory, a thriving colony of studios and art galleries converted from old factories and warehouses, in Beijing's Chaoyang District. It was a sunny day. Wu was dressed in a blazing red shirt and seemed to be in high spirits. After a brief chat, we went to a nearby restaurant that served food from Northeastern China to conduct the...

From “Prison Memoirs”

Wang Dan was a leader of the 1989 student pro-democracy protest in Tiananmen Square. Following the government crackdown on June 4, Wang, who was on the government's most wanted list, went into hiding. He was arrested in 1990 and sentenced to four years imprisonment in 1991. After being released on parole in 1993, Wang wrote publicly about the pro-democracy movement to overseas publications and was rearrested in 1995 for conspiring to overthrow the Communist Party. He was sentenced in...

From “God Tells Them All”

Sotiris Dimitriou's novels and short stories are known for their focus on the underside of contemporary Greek society, in particular the experiences of an immigrant underclass. Importantly, they are equally well-known for their daring and provocative use of language: Dimitriou mixes a number of ethnically marked vernaculars and registers of language to recreate the Greek language and also challenge the preconceptions of a mainstream reader. Dimitriou thus places language at the very...

Abulafia

"Abulafia" is from a collection of short stories published in Poland in September 2008, entitled Cold Sea Tales. Although the eleven stories in the collection were written at different times over a number of years, they feature some common themes that have also appeared in Huelle's novels. The "cold sea" of the title is the Baltic—all the stories are set on our near the Baltic coast, most of them in the author's native region, in and around Gdansk. Almost all feature a large...

The Shakes

Now I have to get the fourth glass down me before I can operate. I mean, the fourth glass, filled to the brim, full of the amber stuff. Yes, now I drink the amber, Scotch. Because of my liver, you know. Why should I try to kid you, we go back a long way, and just between you and me, you're my best friend, you rallied to the cause, you're a great colleague. I went for some liver function tests, and things aren't looking too bright. Anyway, since they let me back into the Health...

Bad News on a Scrap of Newspaper

These days when my friends die only their names die. How can one yearn from the inhuman pit to grasp more than newsprint, shiny black wispy letters, arrows sunk into private memories? Only one who lives outside prison walls can honor the corpses, cleanse himself of sorrow for his dead with embraces, clutch gravestones with fingernails and tears. Not so the prisoners: we just whistle so the echo drowns out the news. Read Roque Dalton's "Ars Poetica"

Ballad of Ventas Prison

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from Biography of Ash

There, where my body seemed to lay a great distance from me, I put my hand on my leg, on my fingers, and I couldn't tell they were mine. My thighs. My legs. My waist. Everything was dry and withered. It was the dryness that scared me. Every time I placed my hand on a part of my body, it was as if I had placed it on a piece of damp wood. By the third day after I had been blindfolded, it seemed to me that I was one of the walking dead. I began to notice that my body was becoming...

Friends

A warden takes me by the arm as I slip on my blindfold and step out of the cell. I'm led down several corridors and seated down somewhere as a door swings shut behind me. I raise my head to peer out from underneath my blindfold, and see I'm facing the wall, in a concrete cell with no windows. Half an hour goes by and I realize I'm trembling with increasing intensity, the muscles in my lower abdomen undergoing unfamiliar jarring motions. In mythico-historical allure,...

He Dreamed That He Was in Prison

That prisoner dreamed that he was in prison. Naturally, the dreams had details and patterns. For example, on the wall of the dream there was a poster from Paris; on the real wall there was only a dark water stain. Running along the floor of the dream was a wall lizard; looking at him from the real floor was a rat. The prisoner dreamed that he was in prison. Someone was massaging his back and he was starting to feel better. He couldn't see who it was, but he was sure it was his...

from Second Sentence

February 1979 started with heavy snow, a biting wind, and the baying of the Alsatian kept by the guards to foil escape attempts. Superstitious prisoners claimed that the dog's howling at night augured the death of a senior politician: this would be followed by a turn in our own luck. Others said it foretold a death inside the camp. Most ignored such old wives' tales and knew that the dog was either sick or in heat. Nevertheless this howling struck terror to the heart, especially...

from Cell Block Five

It took me some long months to realize that I was incarcerated. My dreams had suddenly ended. Like Zoroaster I awoke from a lengthy slumber to discover rudely and bitterly that justice does not always favor innocence. Indeed, it occasionally takes the other side and adds to the number of victims and martyrs. In the final analysis this meant one thing for me: I might rot away inside this penitentiary without anyone noticing my existence. It seemed to me that they might not release me even...

From The Order

Translator's Note: The story takes place in 1918 Finland, right after the end of the Finnish Civil War, where some 30,000 Finns were killed, most by summary execution or in detention camps. This novel is built around a documented incident. Lander focuses on three characters-prisoner, captor, and military judge-to force readers to probe questions of truth, perception, power, duty, and conscience. In this extract a Red prisoner writes to her White foster father. Ruukkijoki 1 May 1918...

from “A Nation behind Bars”

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: The author is Sudanese. This excerpt is a translation from Watanun Khalfa al-Qudban (Beirut: Dar Al Saqi, 2002, ch. 17, pp. 46-52). It takes place in the early to mid-1990s, a time when foreign fighters were entering Sudan hoping to strengthen Islamic law in the country. I would like to thank Diana Abouali and Hussein Kadhim of Dartmouth College for their insightful comments and suggestions on this translation. Rust in the Back of the Head 1 A silent prison....

“Villon and I,” from “Territoires d’Outre-Ville”

The ties between Arab youth and the law bring to mind, in many ways, a nineteenth-century novel. For a long time I was fragile, yet in the pervasive delinquency around me, I seemed driven by some borrowed force. Invariably, the ghetto child's first act of revolt is to commit an offence. Poverty, that traditional proletarian sickness, dictates every action. Therein lie the roots of begging, of thieving. I recall being hungry the way a grown man is hungry in the streets of this country. I...

from “White Masks”

Chapter IV: The Dog -1- There's the clatter of the ancient truck lumbering through the hazy Beirut morning, the sea, and the mingled smell of salt and fish. Sky, gray clouds and waves. Engine clacking, its wheels pitching the ruts, the truck rumbles along. Zayn Alloul is sitting next to the driver up front. Mohammad al-Kharoobi and Saleh Ahmad are suspended on two small fenders at the back-end of the vehicle. The aroma of Virginia blend tobacco suffuses the front cabin: the...

The Toughest Guy in Utouf

As evening fell, Boss Bayumi al-Fawwal left the Husseiniya Police Station clutching a "caution against vagrancy," his chest about to explode with exasperation and rage. He frothed and foamed as he muttered and snarled until the sounds built up into a shrill crescendo, crude and incomprehensible. The gathering roar grew louder and higher the further he drew away from the scene of his humiliation, gradually turning into curses, insults and sheer defamation--all screamed at the top of his...

Wounds and Contusions

Daydreaming "See, that's why I don't want you to come by yourself." "What did I do?" "Don't make believe you don't know." "But, what did I do?" "You were going to cross with a red light." "But no cars were coming." "Yes they were, Beatriz." "But they were very far away." "Let's go now." They walk by the supermarket. Then, by the dry cleaners. "Graciela." "What is it?" "I promise to always cross with the green light." "You already promised me...

Neighing

Stop, and weep Not sadness over the corpse of the remnants of a cursed god and so not a sadness over a bird burdened with open space Don't take me- Don't leave me- maybe, my two friends, it's a wasteland without language maybe you too can postpone the probability of death a little for my prison cell is my body and the ode incidental...

Ahem

It wasn't his cough reaching me from the inner cells across the dark, narrow hall that struck my interest more than the slamming of a door or the resonating ring of a pot falling on the hard floor. Rather, it is what followed that changed the sense of the trivial event and imbued it with meaning. Shortly after the coughs, sharp and successive, emerged from the heart of the hall, I was coincidently afflicted by my own coughing fit—less harsh though, and just about over when two...

The Rat

The terror of the whole neighborhood, which had been so settled and well-off, was a brute, a scamp, and a brigand known as the Hooligan. He was born in the middle of nowhere on an expansive plain, grew up in forests, mountains, valleys, and expanses, and never slept in closed quarters, which leant him a particularly massive nature-an expansiveness of the soul-and fostered the outpouring of his disposition. Yes, it was a wide nature, which recognized no tight recesses and had a fondness...

from Scattered Crumbs

Set in an Iraqi village during the Iran-Iraq war, Scattered Crumbs critiques a totalitarian dictatorship through the stories of an impoverished peasant family. A father (Hajji Ijayel), a fierce supporter of Saddam Hussein--here called only the Leader--clashes with his artist son, who loves his homeland but finds himself literally unable to paint the Leader's portrait for his father's wall. The novel evokes the deterioration both of the country and of the individual characters...

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