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Articles tagged "Lebanon"

She, You, and I

Darling, tell me that when we love, we’re not awaiting a reward or reciprocity. And that love is greatest when it’s fruitless, when feelings are more powerful, more real. What’s the point of love without suffering? Every time I contend with love, a new life is born in the fight. The anxiety I endure makes me feel my pulse, makes me feel I’m alive. I’m only happy when I’m seeking these things, not when I find them, because isn’t the footpath through...

We Have

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We have nations that we don't want.


When did their language mingle with ours

so my brother spoke the words of the arbutus so the mother thickened her sauces with the ash tree’s black resin   The female branches made off with the laundry on our lines the young shoots leapt into our nights cracked our pavement The “wanted” poster distributed via winds and tides led to a blackbird It was he who’d set fire to the forest with a match He who’d sung Hallelujah mockingly at the old oak tree’s burial Our careful openings had...

God, the mother claimed, is behind every tree in the forest

his right shoulder lower than his left heavy with rocky snowfalls from such endurance It’s his motionless breath that fissures our walls in the night when one winter hands    power over to another The deaf bluetit’s wing-beats count for nothing nor the mother’s invectives guilty of having grouted the tiles with her tears   Yet the storm announced festive disorder erosion polished up by subtle winds Everything smiled at us and the mother who wore...

This Animated Life: An Interview with David Polonsky

An interview with David Polonsky, the artist behind the Oscar-nominated film and graphic novel Waltz with Bashir. A few simple descriptions would suffice to understand just how rich and strange an artwork Waltz with Bashir truly is: an animated documentary film. A war movie that is primarily about the machinations of memory. A historical narrative that feels painfully relevant. Now, after winning the Golden Globe for best foreign film and receiving an Academy Award nomination in the...

“BE HERE NOW”: An Introduction to “Yalo”

"How can I describe to you what happened to Yalo…the truth, sir, the truth that only God knows, is that my memory is distorted and I don't know." Yalo takes place during Beirut's 1975 Civil War, as well as its prologue and its aftermath. After years of occupation by the Ottoman Turks and the French, ending during WWII, and a series of governments through the 50s and the 60s, the civil war of the 70s was a bloodbath crush; a larger war filled with volatile, small...

on Translating “Yalo”

Drake Stutesman: Yalo is interesting for the various different voices that it employs, and the ways in which it combines vernaculars, languages and perspectives into a single narrative. What do you think this multitude of elements points to, and how did you work to incorporate them into the English text? Peter Theroux: Yalo is remarkable among Arabic novels for the way Khoury lets his characters speak naturally. He definitely belongs to a new wave of Arab novelists who treat Arabic as...

The Dragon of Rabieh

Based on actual events Inspector Sharbel Barud was picking his teeth while listening to the firemen's explanations. This case was starting to get on his nerves. For the past five days he had been spending his time visiting the inhabitants of Rabieh gathering information regarding the strange creature that was spreading panic in the upscale Mount Lebanon village once made famous by the Italian-Belgian singer Salvatore Adamo. The facts that had been established thus far were not very...

Dinner Party in Beirut

The druggist has closed up shop without a word to anyone, the scoundrel, and it's not even five o'clock. Am I to wait here on the sidewalk like this, with my legs swelling? His shutter is drawn, black, buckled, and discolored. There's broken glass just about everywhere; someone could hurt themselves. I peek inside to see if I can make something out: it's an awful mess, merchandise scattered over the floor. That man is really letting himself go. Here comes my neighbor,...

Crazy Zarifé

It was because of a star that appeared between the Great Bear and the Little Bear that the goats in a village in northern Lebanon ate the French essays of the eighth-grade primary class. Engrossed in watching the luminous point that she'd just noticed for the first time, the schoolmistress didn't see them enter her classroom, devour her pupils' work, and then bound out the window with their bellies full of words. —So much the worse for them, they'll drop their...

A Short Description of Lebanon

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A Happy Childhood

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from The Assembly of Secrets

This is how the story began. On that day, which was the sixth of January, 1976, Madame Sarah Nassar died, aged eighty-odd years. The death was expected. The only one to be taken by surprise was Ibrahim Nassar. Fifty-four years old, he stood like an imbecile before his paternal aunt's body and rocked with tears. He walked behind the bier tottering and almost falling over. He tied the white cloth around his head and walked behind his aunt's body, his red face at the point of...

from Yalo

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: "Yalo" is the story of an interrogation, by a nameless officer, of Daniel Habil Abyad, a young man of Assyrian Christian background who is accused, among other crimes, of raping women and robbing their lovers in a pine forest on the edge of Beirut close to the house where he is employed as a guard. From the start, however, it is Yalo, Daniel's alter ego, who asserts himself as the story's true protagonist. In part, perhaps, because of his upbringing in a...

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...

from Gate of the Sun

What should I say about Umm Hassan? Should I mention the tears, or the memories, or say nothing? Seated in the backseat of the little blue Volkswagen, she was looking out the window and seeing nothing. "We're here," said Fawzi. Her brother got out of the car and held out his hand to help her out. Umm Hassan moved her stout body forward but couldn't raise her head. She seemed unable to do so, as though her breasts were pulling her down toward the ground. She was bent over...

“God, It’s as Though You’re Sewing a Dress For a Flea”

I gather up my courage and decide to throw a "reception day" in the tradition of most wealthy, middle-class women who are proud of their lineage and upbringing, or, who are, like me, enamored with singing and with going to the movies. These women choose a weekday at the end of each month for such a day, and their friends show up dressed to the Nines, and sit around chatting, drinking coffee, and eating candied almonds and chocolate. My husband, however, did not like visits; he saw them as...

from Maryam of the Stories

The whole city gave up on sleep that night. Explosions sealed up ears and filled the city sky, turning the anticipated weekend into a nightmare. Then Monday came and the shelling calmed, so I goaded my body out of the apartment and down to the empty street. I headed in the direction of the office, not because I was expected there, but to pretend that there was still life not far beyond my reach. As I drove through deserted streets, I felt as though I was descending into a vast cavern...

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