Skip to content

Keywords

Articles tagged "Torture"

Dear Torturer

Evil wears no gloves. You turned red with shame when the slice of cake tipped over onto the tablecloth. Because you've known for a long time what is appropriate in a German cafe. The waiter hissed: "The broom's included in the price." You understood this command, said nothing, and cleared the food from the table, vigorously, quickly. You were somehow or other on duty, suddenly. Your fingers trembled, and I was thinking of "tea parties" and "grills." Stains on a German...

from “Dreaming of Baghdad”

His life was short but rich, crammed with events. He was arrested at the age of seventeen, released five years later, and executed when he was twenty-four. At the foot of the mountains, the bushes burn and the vines are trodden. Herbs are burning, villages are burning, huts of leaves and branches are burning. Young men take refuge in caves. After the danger has passed, I hear his laughter. Has he ever stopped laughing? I try now, as I have tried in the past, to forget his mutilated...

“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...

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...

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....

The Circus

For the Welsh original, please click here. When I close my ears to the sounds of this circus my eyes rise to the paths where Will High-Bridge-Arm waits for me. The papers said it was the sovereign in his pocket that was bait for thieves. I wonder whether time froze for him as he tasted, heard, felt the pain of the world passing by him? The gang laughed at him as they caught the glint of moon in his gold coin. Will High-Bridge-Arm sank into oblivion's fountain. When he rose from...

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 Wondrous Deer of the Eternal Hunt

If he hadn't been who he was, I never would have married again. I had everything: a child, a job, my freedom. And suddenly there he was . . . clumsy, practically blind, wheezing. Letting someone into your world with so much baggage—twelve years in Stalinist camps, they took him as a boy, sixteen years old. . . . With the burden of that knowledge . . . the differences. That's not what I'd call freedom. What is it? What's the point? Admit that I only pitied him? No. It...

from The Butcher’s Aesthetics

The two friends' meetings resembled a ritual that went back to the years of holy struggle when they would drink more cups of coffee than they could count to give them energy, a small vice Laid Touhami had picked up in the mountains and the mayor at a young age, since his father considered coffee an aphrodisiac and permanently wore a necklace of coffee beans round his neck. In fact, coffee had been behind Zineddine Ayachi's flight into the Ouarsenis and his joining the ranks of...

Adventures

1 In 1930, in September, on a boat trip to Cairo, I fell into the Mediterranean Sea; I fell with a mighty splash, since at the time the sea was smooth, unruffled by any wave. Nevertheless, my fall was noticed only a minute later, after the ship had already sailed a kilometer and a half on-and when it was finally turned around and sent back in my direction, the agitated captain gave it too much speed and the immense vessel's momentum carried it past the place where I was choking on...

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 The Banquet in Blitva

Written before the Second World War but not widely available until 1962, Miroslav Krleza's Banquet in Blitva combines the satire of a Jonathan Swift with the style and tone of the Austrian Recession and the extravagant technique of expressionism. Shot through with drama and invective, told in torrents of verbiage, the novel takes place in a number of imaginary Baltic states that form an allegorical expression of the history of the Balkan states that once comprised Yugoslavia. The plot...

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...
Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.