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Articles tagged "Palestine"

The City and the Writer: In Cochabamba with Rodrigo Hasbún

Special Series/The Palestinians 2015 If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains.                  —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities Can you describe the mood of Cochabamba as you feel/see it? Cochabamba is a mellow city, a city that still retains its small-town...

The Shape of Time: New Palestinian Writing

—Are you there? —Where? —Here? —You mean there? —I mean do you see the sea? —I see sand. —But do you see the sea? —I see time waiting for us. —You mean you see every ruin in us? —I see every shore in us. —So we are lost. —No, just drawing what shapes us. —Like the sea does. —Like the sea has. —I’ll wait for you by the shore? —You mean by our longing. —I mean I don’t know where...

A Map of Jerusalem

My grandmother’s house still stands. When she was born in the 1920s, the streets had no name. She said the earthquake parted them. And when my mother was born, two years after 1948, my grandmother says they were trapped inside their home, damp and cold, because of a snowstorm that covered Jerusalem by surprise. This is my lineage, my connection to the city, a place marked by both natural and man-made disasters. But the city’s disasters don’t follow me the way they do my...

Writing the Lives of Gaza: Video Interview with Atef Abu Saif

Palestinian writer Atef Abu Saif, a finalist for the 2015 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, joined Words without Borders via Skype to read from his work and discuss the importance of writing the Palestinian experience beyond politics.

Long Distance

Then my father asks what my plans are and I make the mistake of telling him that Ignacio’s girlfriend is coming by so we can go for lunch. “And he’s not going?” Dad asks. “He’s away,” I say. He says nothing. I struggle to picture him on the other end of the line. “Dad?” I ask, hearing him grunt. “Don’t you go fooling around with her,” he says. I didn’t expect this from him, let alone in these terms....

Solitary Confinement on the Seventh Floor

One day I’ll tear off my lips and eat them like candy. One day I’ll rip out my chest because I’m not an orphanage for gathering angels. One day I’ll remove the door and stand in its stead to stop myself from leaving for the hole in the world.

Both Freedom and Constraint: An Interview with Randa Abdel-Fattah

Randa Abdel-Fattah was born in Sydney in 1979 and grew up in Melbourne. She has written nine young adult books inspired by her research on racism, including Does My Head Look Big in This? Ten Things I Hate About Me, Where the Streets Had a Name, Buzz Off, The Friendship Matchmaker, The Friendship Matchmaker Goes Undercover, No Sex in the City, Jodie and the Book of You, and Rania and the Book of You. She worked as a litigation lawyer for ten years and is currently...

“Your Baby”

She felt like laughing. How could she laugh in that position, what would they say about her? It was the first time she’d ever felt the effects of local anesthesia. She’d heard dozens of stories about it, but she hadn’t expected it to be so ticklish, especially at the base of her spine. She wanted to search the faces of the doctors looming over her for a trace of forgotten laughter—perhaps the lines around their mouths would reveal some comedy, an excuse if she...

A Knockout Punch

When Adib saw the delegations of athletes waving to the applauding fans in the Moscow stadium, he sighed, I should have been there. He had promised himself a gold medal, and they had all expected one of him. He didn’t watch the rest of the opening ceremony on the TV. He went out into the alleyways of the Abeed district and disappeared in their shadows, walking. When he was thirteen years old, he thought he was a soccer player. He was considered the top young player in both the old...

Life in Mount Carmel

Though I’m right beside it, I can’t call out to the sea: neighbor, come join me for coffee. Instead, my other neighbor Carmel visits me through the window without my permission and never even once  tries to enter through the door (anyway, it owns the place). Sometimes church bells reach me from the depths of Wadi Nisnas, other times the morning call to prayer comes quietly from the Istiqlal Mosque (that the old breeze carries from Wadi Salib), the Baha’is keep...

Father My Unborn Son

I spill twenty liters of darkness and a childhood up against the wall A Stone-Age hand a paperback Koran Maybe I could have loved you if I was your father and not your son

The City and the Writer: In Jerusalem with Ibtisam Azem

Special Series/The Palestinians 2015 If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains.                    —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities     Can you describe the mood of Jerusalem as you feel/see it? Jerusalem is a city crowded with prayers for a mirage sky that all the gods have...

Nom de Guerre: Butterfly

That evening, I was sitting on my bed. Tala was jumping up and down on her bed next to mine, making it squeak annoyingly. She was jabbering away but I wasn’t following what she was saying because I was busy building my own world inside my head. Tala kept running in and out of the room. I didn’t notice how long she was gone. I just sat there, lost in thought. That is, until the time the sound of Salim sobbing came into the room before Tala did. As soon as I saw him, I hurried...

Adania Shibli’s “We Are All Equally Far from Love”

With the publication of her debut novel, Touch (translated from the Arabic by Paula Haydar)—told from the point of view of a little girl living at the time of the Sabra and Shatila massacre—Palestinian writer Adania Shibli was hailed as a strikingly original new voice in Arabic literature. Her second novel, We Are All Equally Far From Love, now out in a faultless translation by Paul Starkey, will confirm the young Galilee-born writer’s reputation as a formally brilliant...

Life without Me

What hurts me in all this is that my parents will be forced to bury me before themselves. I feel guilt gnawing at me. I do not know who vomited out this hypothesis, in between the cheap maxims and philosophies that this world is full of, made out of them this red line, the  extent of how appalling fate and its like are capable of being in what they suggest to us: How harsh it is for a father to bury one of his sons . . . This is what Walaa, who worked the job of a...

Nora in Wonderland

Unlike Alice's adventures, Nora's didn't start with the appearance of a late and harried rabbit, checking its waistcoat watch. In fact, hers began immediately after her birth, which was sometime in April 2002. It's safe to assume that she was born in the huge educational compound in Ramallah, under an olive tree or some bushes. On several hundred acres of land surrounded by a high wall on all sides, it accommodates the sleeping quarters and training facilities for young...

The Stranger in His Own Icon

The one whom you found by chance in the mirror, whom you found, by chance, in the mirror in its dark side to be exact was there, alone, thinking of you and trying to ingratiate himself with your isolation He is the one whom you called out of his darkness and fed with your hands because you were in need of company-nothing more You called out to him and he came you beckoned to him and he jumped to his feet You would hardly turn your back when he would stare at you...

A Lady Who Does Not Resemble Me

A lady who does not resemble me emerges now from her dream, still warm She opens the window to the friendly morning and tempts its birds to perch on her brocaded shawl. She then finds time to preen herself in front of the mirrors and is discomfited by a wrinkle of age incising a line across her cheeks and by a certain instability in the price of gold And I am here in a land of wind with many problems waiting for his funeral and for fatigue. A lady who does not resemble...

The Shoes

Perhaps it is merely a clever joke, but it has become a story, everybody's story. No one knew why Nizar insisted on going to Ramallah. The situation is not encouraging—the military checkpoints, the humiliations, the grueling walk through the hills and over the barriers made of dirt. Nevertheless, with a laborer's determination, Nizar insisted: There is a problem that must be resolved in Ramallah. He must go. "I will bear the burden of the road . . . we've grown...

Still Life: Scenes in Gaza Time

Discovery He discovered suddenly that Gaza had a sea-a big sea too. It was blue-like a dark-colored painting-and in the evening the sun resembled a giant orange plunging into the watery abyss as it disappeared into the sea. Similarly, he discovered that a few kilometers from the shore a number of ships rode the waves at the heart of the sea and that their lights shone by night, like street lamps, illuminating a path through the sea. It was unmarked but afforded him an avenue to see far...

Is This Home?

In the days prior to my return I had decided to assume a cool demeanor and contemplate my country as a tourist might, and not as a rapturous and homesick returnee. I wanted to hold the moment in my hands, examine it, and write up the experience. And I wanted to minimize, to the extent possible, any emotional entanglement on my part, so that I could see things clearly. I've gotten tired of emotional entanglement . . . My entire life has been full of that. Now I am an old man who wants...

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...

from Étoile Errante

Set first in the village of Saint-Martin in southeast France, then in the refugee camp of Nour Chams, Étoile Errante (Wandering Star) tells the story of two teenage girls on the threshold and in the aftermath of World War II: Esther, a French Jew who flees for Jerusalem with her mother, Elizabeth, just before the German occupation; and Nejma, a young Arab orphaned and unable to return to the ancient city of her birth, Akka, after the Israeli declaration of statehood. The following...

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