Skip to content
Give readers a window on the world. Click to donate.

November 2006

Writing Palestine

Image: Yishay Garbasz

Palestine-a borderless landscape of people, memory, conflict, resilience, and vision-this month locates itself in Words Without Borders, as contemporary Palestinian writers address and establish the multiple senses of place. At the border, Nassar Ibrahim turns practical jokes into metaphorical truths, Azmi Bishara sets the checkpoint to music, and Mahmoud Shukair inspects a guard at both professional and domestic crossroads. Adania Shibli suspends us in a fever dream of silence. Mahmoud Darwish's diary considers enemies, blood, stones, and death. Zakaria Mohammad asks if an exile can ever go home again; Atef Abu Saif sets his emotional watch to "Gaza Time." The young poet Hala Shurouf depicts a city, and a woman, constrained, while the grand dame of Palestinian poetry, the late Fadwa Touqan, bears the gravity of loss. Antoine Shulhut and Faisal Darraj provide contextualizing essays. We thank our guest editors, Tania Tamari Nasir and Taline Voskeritchian, for mapping this intersection of literary arts, memory, history, and place.

Photo courtesy Yishay Garbasz. © 2006 by Yishay Garbasz. All rights reserved.

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


With the arrival of the first signs of spring at the end of the second month of the year, on the third day after the rains had stopped, the rababa1 appeared at the military checkpoint, and

Mordechai’s Mustache and His Wife’s Cats

Mordechai is a simple person, like tens of thousands of others in Tel Aviv (though he would insist that there are few like him there). He enjoys living his easy and comfortable life, gives


“Her narrative voice resonates with the inner geographies of the Palestinian space.”—Anton Shammas


Mahmoud Darwish has recently begun a diary: a daily record of reflections, observations, and intimate personal commentary on the ordinary life of Palestinians today. The following sections

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

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

My City’s Ceiling Is Too Tight

I am now overflowing beyond my name, beyond my body and going out of my details to the pain of place while my heart is as cool as a cloud, a lonely female. As for my hands, they

Longing Inspired by the Law of Gravity

Time's out and I'm home alone with the shadow I cast Gone is the law of the universe, scattered by frivolous fate Nothing to hold down my things Nothing to weigh them to the

Time, Place, and Identity in the Literature of the “1948 Region”

A contemporary, retroactive review of the cultural identity of the Palestinian Arabs living inside Israel can form a basis for the critical study of the literary culture of this geographic

Transformations in Palestinian Literature

Leo Tolstoy prefaced his Anna Karenina with the following statement: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Palestinians today are unlucky enough to


Recent Issues

Our Nueva York: Writing the City in Spanish

The Language of Identity: Kaaps Writing from South Africa

Voices on the Verge: Writing from Southeast Asian Creole Languages

The Slow Burn of Inner Chaos: Writing from Malaysia

Backstories: Afro-Italian Women Writers

The Queer Issue XII

Movement and Multiplicity: Writing from Mauritania

On the Edge: Writing from Iceland

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