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Articles tagged "Tunisia"

from “The Graveyard of Bitter Oranges”

In front of a tropical fruit stand in the Piazza dei Cinquecento, lit up by low-hanging bare bulbs, I stood and observed the red flesh pierced by black seeds of the melons, the yellow pineapples split in two, the ovular, yellow-green bunches of grapes, and the segmented coconut flesh laid out in large basins. I heard Arabian music, camels knelt down before a Corpus Christi altar covered over with flowers, blessed mendicants meandered through the streets among the dead cobras, playing...

Tunisia: A Time of Uncertainty

As we board the plane just before sunrise, a police car pulls up on the tarmac. Hardly have I reached my seat, when I hear a man yelling at the back. He sits handcuffed between two policemen. “Let me be,” he shouts in the intervals of his long mad screams. Who is he? Why is he being transported from Paris to Tunis on the early morning flight? Whether he is an illegal immigrant or guilty of some crime I know nothing about, the scene is full of pain. Why should anyone scream on...

A Scream Has No Alphabet: An Interview with Aïcha Arnaout

Born in Damascus, the poet and novelist Aïcha Arnaout has lived in Paris since 1978. We have had quite a few conversations over the past few years, often at the Marché de la Poésie, an annual event that takes place in early summer on the Place Saint-Sulpice, in the heart of the Latin Quarter. Last March, she became totally engaged in the Syrian revolt, working day and night to send news updates and attend meetings in support of her people. We no longer meet at readings,...

An Open Letter to Mohamed Bouazizi

Dear Brother: I write these few lines to let you know we’re doing well, on the whole, though it varies from day to day: sometimes the wind changes, it rains lead, life bleeds from every pore. To tell the truth, I’m not quite sure where we stand; when you’re up to your neck in war, you can’t tell till the end whether to celebrate or mourn. And there it is, the crucial question: whether to follow or precede the others. The consequences aren’t the same. Some...

Path of Light

Where have you come from? From the other world. And where are you going? Towards the other world. Rabi’a al-’Adawiyya “Song of the Hermit”   I slept for three centuries on a bed of stones I saw things men had forgotten I measured the distance that separated heaven from earth I read the palm’s lines I delivered the augury a voice not my own spoke from my mouth I disappeared into a city that had disappeared armed horsemen invaded our plains...

The Mothers

From now on the mothers will sleep alone among the portraits of the dead only the mothers know where they’ve gone and how the long labour of dying had distanced them already from the living alone from now on the mothers wander among the graves of the departed reciting down those avenues of death prayers in unknown languages telling the heavy beads of dispersed time they no longer measure time by nights that fall across the earth nor by mornings rising on the world...

Publishing in Tunisia: An Interview with Elisabeth Daldoul of Elyzad

Elisabeth Daldoul founded her publishing house, Elyzad, in Tunisia almost six years ago. My first experience with her was with A cinq mains, a book in which she published five short stories written by five different women writers either from the Maghreb or related to the Maghreb. She had asked each of us to write about the hand, drawing our inspiration from this powerful image in Maghrebi culture or simply approaching the theme in its more universal associations.  We were totally...

I Call You Tunisia

I I heard your voice at daybreak Like a scarlet dawn Giving birth in darkness The years’ turning back On themselves Rocking the ebb and flow On the shore of a sea At once full and empty I caught your light Lost a thousand times in the distance A thousand times recovered Beyond fog Beyond dreams Against the drowned reefs Your calling saved me from shipwreck II I mended the nets of your dreams Gnawed down with use Days without sails Masts and oars confounded On...

July 2011


Arabic


I Introduce Myself to the World

In poetry, one only inhabits the place one is leaving. -René Char The following poem was composed during a stay in Tunisia, the country of my birth, in July, my birth month: "here" in the text refers to "there." I introduce myself to the world mixed with my own shadows a cry is enough to greet the earth the sky and my forthcoming face here the sun is made of burning fire I introduce myself to the world which has always swayed in the rhythm of nights and days...

from Wanderings

In the Country of Sands There are hours apart, very mysteriously privileged moments, when certain lands reveal to us, during sudden intuition, their soul, in some way their own essence, when we develop an accurate and unique vision, and which months of patient study would not be able to complete, nor to modify. However, during these furtive instants, the details necessarily escape us and we are only able to perceive the whole of things. A peculiar state of our soul, or a special aspect...

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