Image: Houda Ghorbel, “Push with me . . . my voice is coiled.” Photo by Wadi Mhiri
This month we present post-Arab Spring writing from Tunisian women. Tunisian women have long enjoyed more freedom than those in other parts of the region, and the progress made at the time of the revolution in many ways reflects the high degree of involvement of Tunisian women in all areas of public life. Here writers in both French and Arabic observe and report on their country before and after the Arab Spring. Emna Belhaj Yahia reinterprets the headscarf. Emna Rmili goes inside the mind of a conflicted policeman patrolling a protest. Azza Filali finds the price of vanity goes up after the revolution. Noura Bensaad observes a placid street scene turned tragic. And in poetry, Amina Saïd channels the future, while Ines Abassi blends past and present. Guest editor Cécile Oumhani provides an introduction. Elsewhere, we present four Bengali stories transformed into Bollywood productions, selected and introduced by Arunava Sinha.
We Take the Present in Our Own Hands: Writing by Tunisian Women
What do Tunisian women write today?
Game of Ribbons
“I don’t like to be lumped in with every woman who wears a scarf on her head.”
from “Clairvoyant in the City of the Blind”
I hope and despair at the same moment
My finger is pressing the trigger.
Skin has a memory.
I / am stolen splendor on a darkened street
The Stranger and the Old Lady
In her eyes there smiles the child she once was.
Reviewed by Sean Gasper Bye
Even as the early raging poet's later work opened to a broader set of concerns, it's clear he never lost his desire to challenge simplistic narratives and to ask difficult questions.