Shahadat Spring 2012

Page 1

Spring 2012


Edited by Barrak Alzaid and Khalid Hadeed

Contemporary Literature in Translation Series ArteEast is a leading international arts organization presenting work by contemporary artists from the Middle East, North Africa, and the diaspora. Founded in 2003 as a New York based not-for-profit organization, ArteEast supports and promotes artists by raising awareness of their most significant and groundbreaking work and by bringing this work to the widest possible audience. We do this through public events, art exhibitions, film screenings, international touring programs, a dynamic virtual gallery, and a resource-rich website. Partnering with some of the most prestigious cultural institutions around the world — such as The Museum of Modern Art, Tate Modern, and the Sharjah Art Foundation — ArteEast’s film, visual arts, and literary programs reach thousands of new audiences each year. 2

The organization is committed to bringing the highest quality and form of artistic content on multiple platforms. Our innovative use of technology and partnerships to present programs that are highly mobile, rather than bound to a particular physical space, make us one of the most nimble, cutting-edge art organizations today. ArteEast is also consistently providing relevant context so that audiences can fully appreciate the work that is being presented. April, 2012. New York.

For Lives Undone: Gaza Summons its Writers to Speak ‫ غزة تستنطق ك ّتابها‬:‫من حطام الحياة‬ 3

From the Editors

The Spring 2012 launch of Shahadat is part of ArtEast’s Contemporary Literature in Translation Series and features works in translation by six Palestinian poets writing about Gaza. This issue presents audiences with a literary perspective on a land that has been subjected to over two decades of occupation. Through works that are by turns adamantly critical of the occupation and intimately self aware, this issue brings together an array of voices on Gaza. In his ode to Gaza, Mahmoud Darwish links Gazan literary production with its unique history within Palestine as a land that has been repeatedly occupied by external forces and subjected to almost four decades of sanctions, blockade and strikes: “We are unfair to her when we search for her poems. Let us not disfigure the beauty of Gaza. The most beautiful thing in her is that she is free of poetry at a time when the rest of us tried to gain victory with poems.” Like Darwish’s poem “Silence for Gaza,” we see Palestinian writers of subsequent generations grapple with the personal and communal 4

experiences of Gaza’s history of occupation, blockade and war. This issue of Shahadat considers the ethos of a city under occupation. Somaya el Sousi’s “The City” is a sardonic injunction against a romanticized view of Gaza, and as an introduction to this edition of Shahadat captures the ambivalence many of these authors feel. Haroun Hashim Rashid’s “We Shall Return, One Day,” elegantly expresses the emblematically Palestinian state of yearning for the lost land and keeping the hope of return alive while Fatena Al Ghorra’s “Except for Me” contend swith the dissonant spatial and temporal position of Gaza in peoples’ every day lives. Genealogy, kinship and survival are themes that Walid al-Hulais maps out in his moving piece “Days from the Life of a Palestinian Boy” that sets the affective tone for understanding life in Gaza. Mu’in Tawfiq Bseiso’s “Descending into the Water” artfully delves into the reality of torture and occupation through personal

vignettes and memories. Bseiso’s piece relates to his experience as a communist activist during the period when Gaza was under Egyptian control (1948-1967). He was imprisoned and tortured in an Egyptian, and the context suggests he was imprisoned primarily for communist activities. This personal narrative adds depth to the political history of Gaza and connects it to the regional history of Arab political movements and ideological currents. Meanwhile, May al-Sayigh’s “The Departure,” drawn from her poetic memoir alḤiṣār (1988), expresses the poet’s frustration with her foreced removal from Beirut as a result of the Israeli invasion, along with the PLO with which she had been affiliated, to underscore the Lebanese civil war and Israeli invasion as representing a key stage in the development of Palestine as a political entity, and captures the powerful theme of persecution and exile as the Palestinian legacy/destiny. Similarly, while the poem is not set in Gaza, “A Short Stop in Qana” by Haroun Hashim Rashid underscores the intense

experience of living at the mercy of arbitrary power, and the sense of loss and hope that accompany such abject conditions. Palestine has long been a center of literary and cultural production in the Arab world, with individual voices like Mahmoud Darwish’s setting a path for the rich contemporary scene exemplified by the Palestine Festival of Literature which is being held in Gaza in May in its fifth edition. To coincide with the launch of this publication we are also hosting literary salons in New York City. For more information visit Shahadat’s “For Lives Undone: Gaza Summons Its Writers to Speak (Min Hutam al-Hayah: Ghazzah Tastantiq Kuttabaha)” marks the robust cultural production that has emerged from this city’s traumatic history, and allows audiences to discover observations and documentation of Gaza and Palestine today. Barrak Alzaid & Khalid Hadeed


Table of Contents “The City” Somaya el Sousi 6 “Time Means Nothing” Fatena al-Ghorra 12 “A Short Stop at Qana” Haroun Hashim Rashid 16 “Days from the Life of a Palestinian Boy” Walid al-Hulais 24


“The Departure” May al-Sayigh 34 “We Shall Return One Day” Haroun Hashim Rashid 72 “Descending into the Water” Mu’in Tawfiq Bseiso 76 About the Authors 98 About the Translators 99


By Somaya el Sousi Translated by Sawad Hussain


The City

‫ ستمنحك‬.‫قديم أرهقه الزمن‬ ٍ ‫ املنكفئة عىل بح ٍر‬،‫ما الذي ستمنحه َلك هذه املدينة الحزينة الصامتة‬ ‫ ال أح َد يحاول‬.‫أجدت اإلنصات لصوتها اللييل املبثوث بني حفيف األشجار وهمهامت املوج‬ ‫الكثري لو‬ َ ‫ الجميع يسمع صوته فقط ويسعى للبحث عن ذاته بني‬.‫اإلنصات لذاك الصوت املالئيك املنبعث عنها‬ .‫ركام املدينة‬

What will this sad, silent, fallen city by the old sea oppressed by time give you? It will give you

‫ّرت لو أن الجغرافيا مل تك ْن بهذا القدر من الذكاء ومنحت املدينة مزيدا ً من الكيلومرتات‬ ُ ‫كثريا ً ما فك‬ ِ ‫وأي سفنٍ ستصل‬ ‫إليك؟ ما‬ ُّ ،‫ كيف سيكون شكل ساحلك يا غزة‬،‫الساحلية وأخرجتها من حدودها اآلنية‬ ‫هو حال قاطنيك الحافلني بالغربة والضجيج والخوف؟‬

Often I think if only geography wasn’t so clever, if only it bestowed the city with a few more

‫ألقل فكرة أن تكون مدينتي بال حدو ٍد‬ ْ ‫ أو‬،‫يل‬ ّ ‫رمبا كانت فكرة الخروج من حدود املدينة تسيطر دوماً ع‬ .‫ ومن يخرج منها تُكتب له حيا ٌة جديدة‬،‫ حيث من يدخلها مفقود‬،‫غارق ٍة يف العزلة‬ ‫ هم ال‬،‫ ألك ْن أك َرث رصاحة‬.‫ مدين ٌة سج ٌن تأكل قاطنيها والجميع يريد الهرب‬،‫خروج وال دخول‬ ‫اآلن ال‬ َ ‫ يريدون ح ّريتهم التي أُخذت عىل‬،‫ إنهم يريدون إيجاد ما ضاع منهم‬.‫يس َعون للهرب من جغرافيا املكان‬ ٍ ‫ وقيو ٌد جديد ٌة تُفرض يف كل عام‬،‫كل يوم‬ َّ ‫ كانت املدينة تضيق‬.‫ظروف مل تخطر يوماً ببالهم‬ ‫ح ِني غر ٍة يف‬ ‫ كيف‬.‫أضحت أضيَ َق من احتواء رغبات جميع قاطنيها‬ ،‫بعد أن كانت منفتح ًة متاماً عىل العامل الخارجي‬. ْ ‫ كيف مُيكن للحب واملوت العيش يف شار ٍع واحد؟‬.‫لها ذلك وتناقض الرغبات يهدم كل محاوالت العيش‬ َ ‫كيف‬ ‫ميكنك أن تصافح قاتل أخيك أو تر ّد عليه تحية الصباح؟‬

a lot if you listen to its nightly voice strewn amongst the rustling of the trees and the lapping of the waves. No one tries to listen to that angelic voice emanating from it. Everyone only hears his own voice and strives to search for himself among the city’s heaps.

coastal kilometers and released it from its existing borders; how would your seashore look oh, Gaza? Which ships would reach you? What would be the state of your residents, teeming with feelings of exile, cries, and fear? Perhaps it is the constant thought of escaping the city’s boundaries that posseses me, or perhaps the idea that my city could be without borders, drowned in their isolation. A city where whoever enters is lost, and whoever leaves writes himself a new life story. Now there is no leaving and no entering. A prison-city that consumes its own inhabitants and which everyone wants to escape. To be more precise, they are not trying to flee the geographic location itself. But rather, they want to find what was lost. They want their freedom that was caught unawares in circumstances that they had never, for even one day, dreamt of. The city was becoming more confined each day, with new chains forced upon it each year. After it was completely open to the outside world, it was seen as too narrow to encompass all its residents’



‫ ما أدهشني‬.‫كنت مشارِك ًة يف بينايل الشعراء يف مدينة باريس‬ ُ ،‫قبل أن تتحول غزة إيل مدين ِة مغايَرة‬ .‫وقتَها أن جميع من التقيت بهم كانوا يُصابون بالذهول حني يعلمون أنني قادمة من غزة‬

desires. How is this so and yet the contradiction of aspirations wrecks all attempts to survive.

،‫ هذه الكلمة السحرية التي ما أن يسمعها اآلخر هناك حتى ينظر إ ّيل بكل اندهاش العامل وتعج ّبه‬:‫غزة‬ ‫ويبدأ يف طرح جميع األسئلة التي خطرت بباله منذ سمع يوماً عن وجود هذه املدينة وعن إشكالياتها‬ ‫ إىل ممثل‬،‫ وأتحول من شاعرة مشاركة يف بينايل يجمع أكرث من ثالثني شاعرا ً وشاعرة‬،‫الحديثة‬-‫القدمية‬ ‫ التي ال تختفي يوماً عن نرشات‬،‫عن الشعب الفلسطيني عام ًة وعن سكان املدينة املجهولة الغامضة‬ . ‫األخبار يف كافة مدن العامل‬

Before Gaza transformed into a city of conflict, I was a participant at a poetry conference in

.‫الفضول ملعرفة ما يحدث فعالً ومحاولة فهمه أكرب من قدريت عىل اإلجابة‬

their minds, after hearing one day about this city’s existence and about its old and new troubles.

ٌ ‫عدت إىل هنا كان يب‬ ‫ رمبا أحببتها أكرثَ من خاللهم ورمبا أردت عيش املزيد‬،‫غريب للرجوع‬ ‫توق‬ ُ ‫وحني‬ ٌ ‫ وأن كل ما كان يف الفرتات السابقة‬،‫ لأِ ُفاجأ حني عوديت أن املدينة مل تع ْد لنا‬.‫من تفاصيل هذه املدينة‬ ٍ ‫ املتغريات فارق ٌة يف‬.‫هو مجرد تدريب بسيط عىل ما حدث الحقا‬ ‫ واملطلوب من الجميع‬،ً ‫وقت قصريٍ جدا‬ .‫استيعاب ما حدث والعيش مج ّددا ً وكأ ّن شيئاً مل يكن‬

representative for the common Palestinian people - the dwellers of the dark, unknown city. A

ً‫ مل أتغ ْري وال أفهم لآلن ما الذي حدث؟ ُعدنا جميعا‬،‫أدخل حالة الصدمة‬ ‫لليومي‬ ْ ‫يا لهذه املفارقة!! مل‬ ّ ِ ‫ الجميع‬.‫ حوارات وأحاديث كثرية وشهادات أكرث‬،‫ لكنها هي‬،ً‫السياقات تغريت متاما‬ ‫ لنجد أن‬،‫الذي نعرفه‬ .ً‫صامت متاما‬ ‫ والجميع‬،‫لديه ما يقول‬ ٌ

it more through their eyes, and maybe I wanted to experience more of this city’s character.

How are love, death, and life all possible on one street? How can you shake hands with your brother’s murderer and reply to his ‘good morning’? Paris. What surprised me was that everyone I met was stunned when they learnt I hailed from Gaza. Gaza, this magical word! No sooner had the others heard it than they looked at me with all the world’s amazement and astonishment. They began to ask me all the questions that had crossed I transformed from a poet participating in a conference with more than other thirty poets, to a city that does not disappear from the daily newscasts of cities the world over. Their curiosity to know and their attempt to understand what is truly happening was greater than my ability to reply. When I returned home, I felt a strange yearning for Gaza. Maybe I liked

I am taken by surprise upon my return. The city is no longer ours, and all that was in the past is mere rehearsal for what happened afterwards. The changes are visible in such a short time. There is a demand for everyone to erase what took place and live anew, as if nothing had happened. Oh this paradox! I did not enter a state of shock, I did not change, and I do not understand what happened? We went back to the daily routine that we know, only to find that the context had changed completely. But it was dialogues, more events, and more testimonies. Everyone knew what they had to say, and everyone was utterly silent.



Too many deaths. Many dreams run through the minds of those who live in this forgotten town

ً ‫ والتي تأخذ دوماً ح ِّيزا‬،‫ أحال ٌم كثري ٌة تجول بخاطر من يعيش يف هذا البلدة املنسية‬،‫موىت أك ُرث مام يجب‬ ‫ وال أحد يريد أن يبدأ بتغيري‬،‫بحق إلدراك حقيقة ما يُعاش هنا‬ ٍ ‫ ال أح َد يسعى‬.‫كبريا ً من اإلعالم السيايس‬ ‫ وهي القدرة عىل‬،ً ‫خاصي ًة غريب ًة جدا‬ ّ ‫ رمبا كانت مصيبة هذه املدينة أ ّن من يعيش بها يكتسب‬.‫يشء‬ ٍ ٍ ‫جديد‬ ،‫ ال يرصخون‬،‫ ال يتذمرون‬.‫االحتامل واستيعاب ما ال مُيكن العيش معه‬ ٍ‫بصمت يتقبلون كل واقع‬ ‫ والتي تتناقض متاماً مع شخصيات من‬،‫ دوماً كانت تُدهشني هذه القدرة عىل التك ّيف‬.‫وكأنهم ُخلقوا له‬ .‫ وأستم ّر يف دهشتي‬،‫ لكنهم يستم ّرون يف صمتهم‬.‫يقطن هذه املدينة‬ ٍ‫بيوم مرشق‬ ٍ ٍ‫ وأمل‬،‫كيف إذن ميكن مواصلة العيش هنا واالستيقاظ يف كل صبا ٍح بابتسام ٍة عىل وجهك‬ ‫جديد؟‬ ‫ هذا‬،‫رسي‬ ّ ‫ للعيش يف غز َة يجب أن تخلق عاملك ال‬.‫ لو عرفتَه ميكنك التواصل واالستمرار‬،‫رس صغري‬ ٌّ ‫هناك‬ ‫ تبدأ بالجري‬.‫العامل الجميل الذي يحتويك ويحتوي من هم عىل شاكلتك ممن يحلمون أحالماً صغرية‬ ٍ ‫ أو السهر إىل‬،‫يوم شتايئ‬ ‫ وألن هذه‬.‫وقت متأخ ٍر يف الليل مع أنغام موسيقى وأصدقاء‬ ٍ ‫تحت املطر يف‬ ٍ ‫األمور تغدو مح ّر‬ ‫رسك‬ ّ ‫ حينها ستُخفي‬.ً‫ وستجدها حتام‬،‫ لك أن تبحث عنها‬،‫مات يف قانون املدينة الغ ّزية‬ ٍ ‫يوميات مغاير ًة تختلف متاماً عن يوميات نرشات‬ ‫ لتخلق لك‬،‫الصغري ج ّيدا ً وتتمتع به ما أمكنك ذلك‬ ‫ أو الصواريخ التي ال تحمل من‬،ً‫األخبار الحافلة باملوت والفقر واالقتتاالت الغبية التي ال تغري شيئا‬ ٍ ‫ تستم ّر يف عزلتك‬.‫ لك ّنها ال تستطيع إيذاء قطة‬،‫بصوت يُشبه انفجارا ً ما‬ ‫اسمها سوى قدرتها عىل االنطالق‬ ‫ كيف‬،‫ والتفكري بليلة رأس السنة‬،‫أرخص من السوق‬ َ ‫ وأقىص أمنياتك الحصول عىل دخانٍ بسع ٍر‬،‫الجميلة‬ .‫ميكن أن تقضيها خارج جدران غرفتك‬

and who continually occupy a large part of the media. No one truly tries to know what is being lived here, and no one wants to start changing anything. Perhaps this city’s misfortune is that whoever lives in it takes on a strange quality; it is the strength to endure and wipe away what one cannot live with. They do not grumble, they do not cry out. In silence they accept each new reality as if they were created for it. This capacity to adapt always used to amaze me. It clashes entirely with the personalities of those residing in this city, but they continue in their wordlessness and I in my astonishment. How then is it possible to go on living here, waking up every morning with a smile on your face and hope for a clear, new day? There is a small secret. If you know it, then it is possible to carry on. In order to live in Gaza you must create your own secret world. This beautiful world which contains you and those like you; those who carry small dreams that come true in the rain on a winter’s day, or staying up late into the night with melodic music and friends. Because this matter becomes forbidden in the laws of the invaded city, you must search and you will find it inevitably. You will hide well your small secret and in that moment enjoy what you can from it; in order to create for yourself days contrasting completely from those of the news reports. Days abound with death, poverty, and foolish fighting that does not change anything. Or filled with nameless rockets releasing a sound resembling some sort of explosion, though unable to even harm a cat. You persist in your beautiful isolation and your ultimate wish to get tobacco at a price cheaper than in the market. You continue thinking about New Year’s night and how you can spend it outside the walls of your room.



By Fatena al-Ghorra Translated by Katharine Halls

‫الزمن صفر‬ ‫الوقت يقف متصلباً عىل حاف ِة املوت‬ ُ ‫رشفاتُه يعلوها الغبا ُر وتعرتيها األسئلة‬ ‫سيف مثلو ٌم ينحني يف حرض ِة العتمة‬ ٌ ‫والوقت‬ ُ ‫تنوح عىل دقائِقها الغائبة‬ ُ ‫هي الحيا ُة اآلن‬ ُ ‫اشف الرغب ِة األفعى‬ َ ‫تغزل منها رش‬ ٍ ‫الليل‬ ً ‫صاف جدا‬ ُ ‫كقطع ٍة من سف ٍر طويلٍ أنهكته أقدا ُم العابرين‬ .. ‫تتجىل فيه قلوب خمر‬ ‫عقارب اللحظ ِة الغائبة‬ ‫تعد‬ َ ‫والليل يتجىل ببها ٍء كإل ٍه قديم‬ ُ ‫لذنب ارتكبتهام‬ ٍ ‫وحيد ًة أرق ُد بني نجمتني‬ ‫أرتقب الفكر َة القادمة‬ ُ ‫املختبئ يف أ ريس‬ ‫تنهش ذلك الجز َء‬ ُ َ ‫ويضيق عليها كأمل‬ ‫يتّس ُع لها كفضا ٍء‬ ُ ‫النفق الطويلِ أسئل ًة ووه َم إجابة‬ ِ ‫تُوق ُد يف‬ ‫تتالعب يب كغاني ٍة‬ ُ ‫طريق‬ ‫التقطت غالماً غضاً من قارع ِة‬ ٍ 14

Time Means Nothing Time is coming to a standstill It stands, frozen, on the brink of death, its battlements overwhelmed by dust and besieged by questions. Time is a blunt sword wavering in the face of darkness It is life now who laments its long-lost minutes, who weaves them into bedsheets of viperous desire. The night is clear, like a long path worn down by the footsteps of travelers, in which hearts of wine appear... and count the clock-hands of the absent moments and night emerges in its splendor like an ancient god. I lie alone between two stars I have sinfully committed waiting for the next thought to nibble that hidden spot in my head which opens wide to make room for it, then closes in around it like hope. In a long tunnel it ignites questions and the illusion of an answer, teases me like a beautiful woman who, on the road, picked up a fresh-faced boy 15

ِ ‫تحت‬ ِ ‫فخرج من‬ ‫إبطها درويشاً ينظّ ُم حرك َة‬ َ ‫الطرقات‬ ِ‫ قطع ُة السف ِر الطويل‬.. ‫تتوغل داخيل‬ ُ ‫تتلمس مواط َن السؤال‬ .. ‫تلج نوافذي‬ ُ ُ ‫ينداح حامم ًة مكسور َة الرو ِح‬ ‫الصقي ُع‬ ُ ‫قدم فتصطد ُم بحاف ٍة معلقة‬ ٍ ِ‫تبحثُ عن موطن‬ .. ‫هذا الصقي ُع الذي يدغدغُني‬ ..! ‫إرشا ق ُة لذ ٍة‬ ..! ‫نوت ُة وحد ة‬ ‫ساعدي تق ّرحتا من حملِ الليايل‬ ‫وكأن للفرا ِغ عندي حاج ٌة يقضيها‬ ‫بيت يل عىل امتدا ِد هذا البياض‬ َ ‫وكأن ال‬ ‫فتتثاقل مني خطاي‬ ُ ...‫أميش‬ ‫أرف ُع قدمي‬ .. ‫أج ُدها متيش عىل الهوا ِء‬ ..‫رمبا تص ّوفت‬ ‫الطرقات املعبد ُة لعابري َن سواها‬ ‫رمبا لفظتها‬ ُ ... ‫يعربو َن‬ ‫إنس من‬ ‫فتبقى‬ ُ ٌ ‫الطرقات “كأنهن مل يطمثهن‬ ”‫قبلِهم وال جان‬ ....‫وخطوايت‬ ‫يف السام ِء معلق ًة تعاوي َذ بدائية‬ .‫ترقص‬


and put him down a dervish who marshals the roads’ movements. That path burrows deep inside me penetrating my openings, searching for a home for the question. The frost spreads like a broken-spirited dove, who, searching for a foothold, crashes into a suspended edge. This frosty cold which tickles me... Flash of pleasure Note of solitude My arms were sore from carrying the nights As if the void within me had some need to take care of and as if I had no home anywhere in this great whiteness I walk... and my footsteps fall heavily. I raise my foot to find it walking through the air... Maybe it has become a Sufi Maybe the paved roads spat it out to make way for other travelers... And the roads remain ‘as if unsullied by the touch of man or Jinn’ And my footsteps are hung in the sky like primitive talismans dancing.


By Haroun Hashim Rashid Translated by Khalid Hadeed

‫وقفة عند قانا‬


A Short Stop at Qana

)1( ‫ حزيناً كسريا‬،ً‫وقفت كئيبا‬ ُ ‫ وأُحيص القبورا‬...‫أع ّد األسامي‬ ...‫وأقرأ فاتح ًة للكتاب‬ ‫ بكاءا ً مريرا‬...‫وأبيك عليهم‬ ‫رت‬ ُ ‫ تس ّم‬...‫وقفت‬ ُ ‫ضاع الكال ُم‬ ‫أعددت‬ ‫وضاع الحديث الذي كنت‬ ُ ‫ ونسيت السطورا‬،‫ض ّيعت ُه‬


)2( ...‫هنا عند قانا‬ ‫توقّف حتى الزما ُن‬ ‫فام عاد يخطو أماما‬ ‫وخلفا‬ ‫ وقُ ِّي َد‬،‫ فيها‬،‫تس ّمر‬ ‫أصبح فيها السجني األسريا‬


I stood...despondent, sad, my spirit broken Counting the names...numbering the graves And reading the introduction to the book... And crying over them...bitter tears I stood...nailed to the ground My words got lost As did the talk I had prepared I lost it, and forgot the lines

Here, in Qana... Even time has stopped It no longer steps forward Or backward It has been nailed to Qana, and chained Here it has become the captive prisoner



)3( ...‫وقفت‬ ُ ‫وح ّدقت يف الشي ِخ‬ ‫هذا الذي توكّأ عكاز ُه‬ ‫ابيضتا‬ ّ ‫وعيناه‬ ِ ‫وبان كام‬ ‫الشل ُو‬ ‫ مثريا‬،ً‫شيئاً عجيبا‬


)4( ‫األرض‬ ُ ‫ فاهتزت‬...‫تكلّ َم‬ ‫ وتقذفنا‬،‫كادت تف ّجر بركانها‬ ‫بالحجارة‬ ‫تلعن هذا الوجو َد‬ ‫وتشكو إلينا الزمان الحقريا‬


)5( ‫ أيقدر هذا؟‬،ً‫أحقا‬ ‫وكيف؟ مت ّر األسامي‬ َ ‫ تصعق ُه مر ًة‬،‫ت ُالحق‬ ِ ‫كالرعد‬ ‫ يُدمدم‬،‫وأخرى‬ ‫ َجهورا‬،ً‫ غريبا‬،ً‫ينفث صوتا‬


)6( ،‫أشيخ ترى َمن أمامي‬ ،‫ وينزف من قلبه‬،‫يتلو الحديث‬ ‫ ونورا‬،‫الجرح نارا‬ ،‫ترى من يعد من األربعني‬


I stood... And gazed at the old man Leaning on his walking stick And his eyes turned white And like a severed body part, he seemed Like a curious, intriguing thing

He spoke...and the ground shook Nearly unleashed its volcano, and pelted us With stones Nearly cursed this existence, and to us complained Of these despicable times

Is it true? Can he...that man? And how? The names go by At times they pursue, and stun him At others, he roars like thunder And spits out a sound...strange, sonorous

I wonder, is this an old man Who stands before me Reciting his talk, while the wound In his heart, bleeds fire and light? Who is he counting, I wonder, from among the forty?


،‫الذين عىل مذبح املوت‬ ،‫يوم اختطاف الصباح‬ ،‫هوى نجمهم‬ ،‫قُتلوا غيلة‬ ‫مزقتهم يد البغي‬ ‫ وجورا‬،ً‫ظلام‬


Those who, at the altar of death When morning was abducted Saw their stars collapse Got ambushed and killed Shredded by the hand of oppression Of injustice, and transgression

)7( ‫أيذكر أحفاده‬ ‫أم تُرى يذكر أبناءه‬ ‫ صباياه‬،‫ أشقّاءه‬،‫عمومته‬ ‫ واحدا‬،ً ‫ واحدا‬،‫لو يستطيع ألطلقهم‬ ‫يُزلزل باسمهم الكو َن‬ ‫ مستجريا‬،ً ‫يرصخ مستنجدا‬


)8( ‫أح ّدق يف مقلت ِني‬ ّ ِ‫ابيضتا من الدمع‬ ‫أم من لظى الثأ ِر‬ ‫يوقد يف الصد ِر‬ ‫القلب‬ ‫يف‬ ِ ‫حقدا ً سعريا‬


)9( ‫تسمرت‬ ُ ‫يا شيخي املستف َّز‬ ...‫عجزت‬ ُ


Is he uttering the names Of his grandsons, or perhaps his children? His uncles, siblings, young granddaughters? If he could, he would release them, one by one Making the universe quake, in their name Crying out for rescue, for help

I gaze at two eyes Whitened, by tears Or by the fire of revenge That ignites, in the bosom In the heart An infernal hatred

My old, provocative man I was nailed to the ground I failed... I felt, in front of you


َ ‫شعرت بأين‬ ‫أمامك‬ ‫ صغريا‬...ً ‫ صغريا‬...‫رصت‬ ُ )10( ‫فعف َو َك‬ ‫إن كنت قصرّ ُت‬ ‫عف َو َك‬ ‫عف َو أح ّبائك الخالدين‬ ‫الذين لهم سدرة املنتهى‬ ‫ أثريا‬،ً ‫مكاناً عزيزا‬


That I had become small...small

(10) I ask your pardon If I have fallen short of my duties I ask your pardon And I ask the pardon Of your eternal loved ones Those whose reward is the Lote tree The station of dignity, and honor


By Walid al-Hulais Translated by Khalid Hadeed

‫أيام من حياة ولد فلسطيني‬

‫عىل أمل العيش ألقى أيب بذر ًة‬ ‫يف مكامن أمي‬ ‫وأرعش يف جذ ٍل فوقها‬ َ ‫كحصانٍ صهول‬ ‫وأغفى‬ ً ‫ أُخلّف ذكرا‬:‫ويف الحلم قال‬ ً ‫ أخلف ذكرا‬:‫عىل أمل العيش قال‬ ”ً ‫“عىل أمل العيش سوف أخلف ذكرا‬ ‫وغادرت أمي‬ ُ ‫عىل أمل العيش غادرت أمي‬ ‫وغادرت رحامً دفيئة‬ ‫ألغرق يف طُ ُرقات الجليد املليئة‬ ِ ‫ بالسمك امل ْيت‬،‫بالناس‬ ‫يف طرقات الجليد املليئ ِة باملوت‬ ‫عيش يف طرقات الجليد‬ َ ‫ال‬ ‫وأين أيب يك أُخرب ُه أ ّن بذر ُه‬ ‫ال يكتفي بالحياة‬ ‫عىل أملٍ واهنٍ يف الحياة‬ ‫وأن الدالئل تُومي إىل أن رحامً دفيئة‬


Days in the Life of a Palestinian Boy In the hope of survival, my father cast a seed Into my mother’s hidden places And trembled above her with delight Like a horse given to neighing And fell asleep And in the dream he said: I shall beget a male In the hope of survival he said: “I shall beget a male” “In the hope of survival I shall beget a male” And I left my mother In the hope of survival I left my mother Leaving thereby a warm womb To drown in the streets of ice, teeming with people With dead fish In the streets of ice teeming with death There is no survival on the streets of ice

And where is my father, so that I may tell him That his seed is not content to live On the frail hope of survival That all the evidence suggests A warm womb is equal


‫تُعادل كل صنوف الحياة‬ ‫وأين أيب؟‬ ‫وأين أيب يك نُقارع ك ّفاً بكف‬ ‫ونضحك نبصق نغتصب العيش‬ ً‫عيش إال اغتصابا‬ َ ‫ال‬ ‫وأُقسم أنيّ كذبت عىل الله قبل قليل‬ ُ ‫اغتصاب‬ ‫يعادل‬ ‫فإن الحياة‬ ٌ ‫كل النساء الدفيئة‬ ِّ ‫أرحام‬ ‫ فاعذريني‬،ً‫ معذرة‬،‫يا أ ُّم‬ ‫أنا طفل هذي الحياة‬ ‫لقد حيرّ تْني املضامني‬ ‫حيرّ ين الشكل‬ ‫راوغني االحتامل اللعوب‬ ِ ‫رسا ً عجيباً هداين‬ ‫إليك‬ ّ ‫ولك ّن‬ ‫هو العشق‬ ‫ال تسأليني عن العشق‬ ‫رأيت صديقي يفيض به‬ ُ ٍ‫قبل قليل‬ ‫م ّر من حولِه الجند‬ ‫يف كل زاوي ٍة كان كلب‬ ‫ويف كل مقل ِة ع ٍني تج ّمع كلبان‬ ‫لك ّن عينيه متتلئان بيش ٍء غريب‬ ‫يص ّد الكالب‬

To all the many kinds of life? And where is my father? Where can I find my father So that we may wrestle, palm against palm And laugh, and spit, and usurp survival?

Unless usurped, there can be no survival And I swear that I lied to God just now For life is a usurpation that equals The warm wombs of all women Mother, I beg your pardon, so pardon me I am the child of this life The contents have confused me The form has confused me Possibility, ever mischievous, has eluded me And yet a wondrous secret has guided me to you: Passion

Do not ask me about passion A little while ago I saw my friend Overflowing with passion The soldiers had passed by him In every corner there was a dog And in each eye two dogs had gathered But something strange fills his eyes Something that keeps the dogs at bay



ِ ‫قليالً من النور حتّى أر‬ ‫اك‬ ‫قليالً من النور‬ ‫أرجو السام َء املغطّا َة بالدم‬ ‫أرجو السامء املغطاة بالناس‬ ‫أرجو السامء املغطاة بالقدس‬ ‫أرجو السامء املغطاة بالكرمل الطفل‬ ً ‫النوائب ذكَرا‬ ‫ذاك الذي خلّفتْه‬ ُ ‫عىل أمل العيش‬ ‫ها هو يف طرقات الجليد‬ ‫يقارع يربد يبصق يبيك‬ ً ‫ويضحك جهرا‬ ‫ويغتصب العشب واملاء واالنتامء‬ ‫عىل صخر ٍة حلو ٍة يف الجليل‬ »‫«غسان‬ ُ ‫تذك‬ ّ ‫ّرت‬ ِ ‫يلتقيك‬ ‫يحتال يك‬ »‫«غسان‬ ّ ‫تذكرت‬ ِ ‫بعينيك‬ ‫ينهض لالحتفاء‬ ‫يُشعل يف العيد ما قد تبقّى من الشمع‬ ‫يُطفئ يف العيد ما قد تبقّى من الشمع‬ ِ ‫لعينيك مرصودة‬ ‫كل الشموع‬ ُّ ِ ‫فأشعليها إذا‬ ‫ أو فأطفئيها‬،‫شئت‬ ‫لِ َم تخلع األرض أثوابها اآلدمية؟‬ ٍ ‫تعصب موطن‬ ‫نزف‬ ُ ‫بجسم هو‬ ‫النزف‬ ٍ ‫من سيف أعدا ٍء إخوة‬


Some light, so that I may see you Some light I beg the sky covered with blood I beg the sky covered with people I beg the sky covered with Jerusalem I beg the sky covered with Mount Carmel, the child The one whom disasters begot In the hope of survival Here he is, on the streets of ice Wrestling, foaming, spitting, weeping Laughing loudly Usurping the grass, the water, and belonging On a pretty rock in the Galilee

I remembered “Ghassan” Contriving to see you I remembered “Ghassan” Rising to honor your eyes Lighting the remaining candles on the festival day Dousing the remaining candles on the festival day All the candles are reserved for your eyes So light them, if you will, or douse them

Why does the Earth cast off its human garments? It bandages the bleeding wound On a body, itself the bleeding wound Inflicted by the sword of fraternal enemies Picking head lice within sight of my flowing blood


ٍ ‫مشهد من نزيفي‬ ‫يفلّون قمل الرؤوس عىل‬ ‫ملاذا تطامن رأس الشامل‬ ‫وهم يحقنون رصاص األخ ّوة يف جسدي‬ ‫أشاحت عيون الجنون؟‬ ‫وملاذا‬ ْ ‫ملن طائر الليل يبيك؟‬ ‫ملن طائر الفجر يبيك؟‬ ِ ‫و ِمن أين‬ ‫آتيك؟‬ ِ ‫جاملك ليل َة عشقي األخرية‬ ‫كان‬ ‫أك َرث من فاحش‬ :‫طل مع النهد‬ ّ ُ‫مخيف ي‬ ٌ ‫شيئ‬ ٌ ‫كان‬ ‫جوعي‬ ِ ‫ناهديك‬ ‫الحليب يجي ُء إىل‬ ‫وكان‬ ُ ‫ُبيل مجيئي بجوعي‬ َ ‫ق‬ ‫مخيف يطل مع الخلق‬ ٌ ‫ويش ٌء‬ ‫يف عني مقتد ٍر عىل الخلق‬ ً‫يُبدع كونا‬ ً‫ويهدم كونا‬ ِ ُ‫ ي‬،‫يتك‬ ِ ‫مُي‬ ‫حييك‬ ‫كان مخيفاً جاملك ليلة عشقي األخرية‬ ‫وأكرث من فاحش‬ ‫بال أمل العيش‬ ‫ألقى أيب بذر ًة يف مكامن أمي‬ ‫وأرعش يف جذ ٍل فوقها‬ ‫كحصانٍ صهول‬


Why did the head of the North bow down While they injected their fraternal bullets Into my body? And why did the eyes of madness look away? For whom does the bird of night weep? For whom does the bird of dawn weep?

And what part of you should I approach? Your beauty on the last night of my passion Was more than wanton A fearful thing was appearing With your bosom: my hunger And the milk was coming to your full, rounded breasts Before I came with my hunger

And a fearful thing was appearing, with the world In the eye of one who rules the world Who invents one universe And destroys another Deadens you, brings you to life Your beauty on the last night of my passion It was fearful And more than wanton

With no hope of survival My father cast a seed Into my mother’s hidden places And trembled above her with delight


‫وأغفى‬ ً ‫ أُخلّف ذَكرا‬:‫ويف الحلم قال‬ ً ‫ أخلف ذكرا‬:‫بال أمل العيش قال‬ ً ‫ أخلّف ذكرا‬:‫بال أمل العيش قال‬ ‫وغادرت أمي‬ ُ ‫بال أمل العيش غادرت أمي‬ ‫وغادرت رحامً دفيئة‬ ‫كل النساء الدفيئة‬ ّ ‫وغادرت أرحام‬

Like a horse given to neighing And fell asleep And in the dream he said ”I shall beget a male“ With no hope of survival, he said ”I shall beget a male“ With no hope of survival, he said ”I shall beget a male“ And I left my mother With no hope of survival I left my mother

‫وها إ ّن رحم الحيا ِة تحارصين بالحياة‬ ‫الخبيئة‬ ‫أُقارع كفّي بكف رفاقي‬ ‫ونضحك نبصق نغتصب الشمس‬ ً‫شمس إال اغتصابا‬ َ ‫ال‬ ‫أنا طفل هذي الحياة‬

Leaving thereby a warm womb Leaving the warm wombs of all women

And here is the womb of life Besieging me with hidden life

I wrestle with my friends, palm against palm And we laugh, and spit, and usurp the sun Unless usurped, there can be no sun

I am the child of this life



By May el-Sayigh Translated by Khalid Hadeed


‫هذا هو الرحيل‬ ‫س ّددي سهامك الحمراء‬ ‫ وافتحي منفاي‬،‫ج ّردي الربوق‬ ‫رسجي الرحيل‬ ِ ‫ أ‬،‫أغلقي الفضاء‬ ‫ تفتح الشطوط بحرها‬،‫لشوقي الطويل‬ ‫وتجمح الخيول‬ ‫ألف مرة‬ َ ‫َع َد ْت عىل فؤادي الذبيح‬ ‫حواف ُر الخيول‬ ‫تكرست عليه ألف موجة‬ ْ ِ ‫يف‬ ‫بحرك القتيل‬ ‫سأحمل الدروب يف حقيبتي‬ ‫وأحمل النخيل‬ ‫وأقطف الصباح والسهول‬ ‫وأُغلق الدموع يف دفاتر املساء‬ ‫أغلق الفصول‬

The Departure This is the departure Point your red arrows Strip bare the bolts of lightning And open the way to my exile Seal the doors of space Set the saddle on the departure To my old longing The shores open their sea And the horses sprint Over my slain heart the horses’ hooves Have run, a thousand times And in your slain sea a thousand waves Have broken against my heart In my suitcase I will carry All the paths I have trodden I will carry the palm trees And pluck down the morning and the plains And enclose the tears, and the seasons In the notebooks of the evening



‫للريح للرذا ِذ نكه ُة األسفار‬ ‫موج‬ ُ ‫فابتعد يا‬ ‫جرح‬ ُ ‫واقرتب يا‬ ‫واعصفي يا آخ َر األيّام‬ ‫يربد الحدي ُد‬ َ ٌ‫عامل‬ ‫يلقيك يف الرياح‬ ‫انبجاس نجم ٍة‬ ‫وأم ٌة تطار ُد‬ َ ‫املباح‬ ْ ‫يف كونها‬ ‫ مطارد‬،‫ مطار ٌد‬،‫مطا َر ٌد‬ ‫فأطلقي رعودك الحمرا َء يا مدينتي‬ ‫وعانقي السالح‬ ‫مطا َرد‬ ‫ويسق ُط الودا ُع صاعقاً كغارة‬ َ َ ‫نعشك املديد‬ ‫يكفيك أنهم يش ّيعون‬ ‫بك الورو ُد تحتفل‬ ‫لك األر ّز و ال ُق َبل‬ ‫والرصاص‬ ،‫األكف‬ ُّ ‫ و‬،ِ‫وموج ُة الدموع‬ ُ ‫والشُّ َعل‬

The wind and the drizzle carry The flavor of many departures So move away, you waves And draw near, my wounds And you, the last of days Unleash your storms The metal cools down A world casts you to the winds And a nation hunts a star That flows freely In a universe free for all Hunted, hunted, hunted So let your red thunders peal, my city And embrace your weapons Hunted And parting descends With the shock of an air raid See how they pay you the last honors Carrying away your long bier It is you whom the roses celebrate And for you are the offerings of rice, and the kisses For you the waves of tears, the palms, the bullets And the torches



َ ‫ترتديك‬ ‫بريوت‬ ‫ إنها‬،‫فلتبدأ النشي َد‬ ُ ‫فاست ِو عىل سطوح مجدها‬ ‫وغادر الدموع‬ ‫زرقا َء تحتويك يف ال َزبَد‬ ‫كأنها األبد‬ ‫أو البداية التي تجي ُء يف اليقني‬ ً ‫فكيف تستطيع أن تكون ميتاً وحارضا‬ ‫يف لحظة اليقني‬ ‫ والنداء ال يُعيد العاشقني‬،‫أيلول جاء‬ ‫أيلول جاء‬ ‫ وزَّعت عناقَنا‬،‫وكفّه الجرداء‬ ‫وانثالت السن ْني‬ ‫ والبكا ُء ال يُعيد الذاهبني‬،‫الرحيل‬ ُ ‫هذا هو‬ ‫ والرجاء‬،‫ والورو َد‬،َّ‫فانرثي األرز‬ ‫ول ّوحي باملو ِج‬ ِ ‫البيوت‬ ‫أطلقي نوافذ‬ ‫أطلقي الحامم‬ ‫ور ّددي السالم‬ ‫لتهج ِر األنها ُر نبعها‬ ‫الرياح سقفها‬ ‫وتهج ِر‬ ُ ‫وتنضب البحار‬ ِ

So commence the anthem It is Beirut who takes you as her garment So settle down on the glorious surfaces of its sea And leave the tears behind In her blue, in the foam of her sea, she envelops you As if she were all eternity Or the beginning that comes with certainty So how can you be both dead, and present At the moment of certainty? September has come, and calling on the loved ones Cannot bring them back September has come And its bare palm has dispersed our heads And all the years have descended in a deluge This is the departure And crying cannot bring back those who have gone So scatter the rice, and the roses, and hope And wave to us through the waves Release the windows of the houses Release the doves And echo our salutations Let the rivers abandon their springs Let the winds abandon the vault above them Let the seas run dry



‫ال صبح َ ال مكا َن‬ ‫فاسحبي الهوا َء من تنفّيس‬ ‫وقسمي الظالل‬ ِّ ِ ‫وأطلقي‬ ‫هواك من هواي‬ ‫هل تأخذين من دمي الشطوط؟‬ ‫تنسلني عن عظامي البيوت؟‬ ُ ‫هل‬ ‫خذي القمر‬ ‫يف ح ّينا ال يغرب القمر‬ ‫وال ينام أهل ُه‬ ‫فالنو ُم يرسق السهر‬ ‫ويأكل األعامر خلس ًة‬ ‫وميسح الصور‬ ‫ وا ّدعي بأنهم نيام‬،‫وأبعدي الصغا َر‬ ِ‫وأوقفي تسلّق الجدران‬ ‫طائش‬ ٌ ‫فالرصاص‬ ‫وص ّدقي األحالم‬ ِ ‫الرصاص‬ ‫فَ ُربمّ ا تنقيض مواس ُم‬ ‫مثلام مي ّر موسم املطر‬ ِ ‫وأطلقي الصباح من‬ ‫يديك‬ ‫تفتحت يف عريها ال ِقفار‬ ‫قلبي السجني زهر ٌة‬ ْ َ ِ ‫قطعت‬ ‫وأكميل حديثنا الذي‬ ‫صوتُك انهام ُر ثل ٍج‬

There is no morning, no dwelling So draw the air out of my breathing And parcel out the shadows And release your love from mine Do you mean to take the shores out of my blood? Do you mean to pluck the houses out of my bones? Take the moon, then In our neighborhood the moon never sets And the people never sleep For sleep steals the night-gatherings And devours lives in stealth And erases every image Move the children away And claim that they are asleep And stop the climbing of the walls For the bullets are flying astray And believe in dreams For perhaps the seasons of bullets may pass As does the season of rain And release the morning from your hands My captive heart is a flower In whose nakedness wastelands have flowered And continue the talk we were having, before you cut it off Your voice is the flowing descent of snow...



...‫ سوس ٌن‬،ٍ‫ما ُء زهر‬ ‫فأكميل الحوار‬ ‫ال يش َء مينع الحبيب عن حبيبته‬ ِ ‫الشوك‬ ‫حت يف‬ ْ ّ‫وقلبي السج ُني زهر ٌة تفت‬ َ ‫أكميل الحوار‬ ‫لكل ما يف الكون من نهاي ٍة‬ ‫إال دمي املُعاد‬ ‫تجمعت سنابك الجياد‬ ‫أتهربني كلّام‬ ْ َ ‫يف كل م ّر ٍة تكون يف اتساع‬ ‫موتك املُعاد‬ َ َ ‫السواد‬ ،‫تصطفيك‬ ‫الطائرات‬ ّ ‫ تزرع‬،‫تحتويك‬ ِ ‫احمت عليك‬ ‫آخر الرؤى‬ ْ ‫تز‬ ‫فكيف تبتدي حكاي َة الحصاد؟‬ َ ‫تنتقيك‬ ‫الطائرات‬ ‫ آخ َر الرقاد‬،‫أ ّو َل الرقا ِد‬ ‫فهل نج ْوت؟‬ ‫سعيت مثل دود ٍة يف القبو‬ ‫وهل‬ َ ‫هل نجوت؟‬ ‫ هل نجوت؟‬،‫من حولك الدما ُء والقبو ُر‬

The orange-blossom water, the lily of the valley So resume the conversation Nothing can keep the lover away From his beloved And my captive heart is a flower That has flowered amidst thorns Resume the conversation Everything in existence has an end Except for my recurrent blood Will you escape whenever The hooves of the steeds come together? Always, the extent of your stature Is equal to your recurrent death The planes elect you, envelop you, sowing blackness The final visions have thronged around you So how will you start the tale of the reaping? The planes select you At the beginning of sleep At the end of sleep So did you survive? And did you struggle, like a worm in a cellar? Did you survive? Around you the blood and the graves extend Did you survive?



ِ ‫أفلتت ذرا ُعه من نعش ِه‬ ‫وآخر الرفاق‬ ْ ‫وأومأت إليك‬ ْ ‫رت إرادة السامء نقم ًة عليك‬ ْ ‫كم مر ٍة تف ّج‬ ‫ كم مذبحة‬،‫خذت غيل ًة‬ َ ُ‫كم مر ٍة أ‬ ِ ‫باملوت‬ ‫ تحتمي‬،‫وأنت تجمع الجراح‬ ‫تلبس األحال َم أجنحة‬ !!‫كم مذبحة‬ ‫مرارة األشياء تزدهي‬ ‫واملوت زائ ٌر يُقيم بيننا مساف ًة‬ ٍ ‫احتامل‬ ُ ‫قادم‬ ‫كأنها‬ ِ ‫عرس‬ ‫كأنها احتفال‬ ‫غضاض ُة األيام تنتيش‬ ‫ويثمل الخيال‬ ‫ذبيح‬ ٌ ‫والصحو طائ ٌر‬ ‫ارتطام روحنا‬ ‫أو بره ُة‬ ِ ‫بحائط املُحال‬ ‫الرحيل‬ ُ ‫هذا هو‬ ِ ‫سهامك الحمرا َء يا مدينتي‬ ‫سددي‬ ‫وخلِّني يا بح ُر من دوارك الخفيف‬ ‫كل غار ٍة‬ ِّ ‫ ولفّني دوار‬،‫طابق‬ ٍ ‫يل كل‬ ّ ‫هوى ع‬ ‫وارتطمت بالسقوف‬ ،‫الدروب‬ ‫متايلت َيب‬ ْ ْ ُ

And the last of our comrades, his arm swung free Of the bier, and pointed to you How many times did the will of the heavens Erupt in vengeance against you? How many times have you been ambushed? How many massacres have you witnessed? And you gather the wounds, and take cover Under death Clothing your dreams with wings How many massacres!! The bitterness in everything is gloating And death is a visitor, living among us at a short distance Like the possibility of a wedding soon to come Like a celebration The disgrace that rules the days is in rapture While imagination falls into drunkenness And the clear sky is a slain bird Or the fleeting moment when our spirit collides With the wall of the impossible This is the departure Point your red arrows, my city And empty me of your light vertigo, oh sea Every floor collapsed over me And vertigo wrapped itself around me



‫فأي نعم ٍة أع ُّز من سعادة الوقوف‬ ُّ ‫تبعرث الزما ُن و املكان‬ ‫الص ّوان‬ َ ‫تفتّت‬ ‫ ماد عريُها إ ّيل‬،‫غارت الجسو ُر‬ ‫ وم ّده إ ّيل‬،ً‫الصباح حنظال‬ ‫وأمثر‬ ُ ‫يل من حديدها السامء‬ ْ ّ‫قضمت ما تعط‬ ُ ّ ‫فت به ع‬ ‫مزقت جبهة الهواء باألظافر الجرداء‬ ُ

With every air raid All the pathways swayed under me And collided with the ceilings So what bounty is more dear Than the joy of standing still? Time and space are scattered in disarray And the flintstone has splintered The bridges have caved in, and their nakedness

‫يا صب َحها الذي يعانق املدى‬ ‫ فق ْم‬، ‫ساعدي‬ ‫أم ّد‬ ّ ‫ قم‬،‫الحريق‬ ‫ستنقيض مواسم‬ ِ

Has tottered over to me

‫ومتِّعِ الفوائ َد من شميمها‬ ‫تقل لها الوادع‬ ْ ‫وال‬ َ ‫ شك‬،‫رتك‬ َ ‫ ف ّج‬،‫َتك‬ َ ‫كم أعتق‬ ‫ّلتك‬ ‫أغدقت عليك من طيوبها‬ ْ ‫فال تقل لها الوادع‬

The sky deigned to give me

And the morning has yielded colocynth And extended it to me I bit into the metal And with bare fingernails I tore The frontline of the air See her morning embracing the horizon I stretch out my arms, so rise The seasons of fire shall come to an end Now rise And smell her to your heart’s content How many times has she freed you, unleashed you, shaped you? How many times has she lavished on you her perfumes? So do not bid her farewell



‫سأجعل الصباح ِفلقتني‬ ‫والليل من لجني‬ َ

And the night into argent

‫يا ليلَها الطويل‬ ً‫ساعدي سلّام‬ ‫أم ّد‬ ّ ‫هل تسقط القذيفة املليون بيننا‬ ‫أ ِمن تو ّج ٍس‬ ٍ ّ‫ومن تطير‬ ‫تعاو ُد السؤال؟‬

See her long night

َ ‫واقف‬ ‫مل‬ ٌ ‫أنت‬ َ ،‫يهزموك‬ ‫تؤكّد استحالة انتصارهم عليك‬ َ ‫ أَشعلِ الغامم والزبد‬،‫يهزموك‬ ‫مل‬ ‫فالوقت من زبد‬

They have not defeated you, you remain standing

َ ‫لديك هذه البنادق القليلة العدد‬ ‫لديك ساعديك‬ ‫ُنفض عن البيوت نارها‬ ْ ‫ا‬ ‫وأَش ِعل ال ِق َمم‬ ‫لجوعك انتق ْم‬ ‫لعمرك انتق ْم‬ ‫وللجامجم الصغرية التي وعدتَها بالعيد وال ُق َبل‬ ‫ال زال يف جلودها الفسفو ُر يشتعل‬ ‫وأَش ِعل الفضاء‬ ‫ارتأت نجاتها‬ ْ ‫طغم ٌة وراءك‬ ‫واغتالها الشَ لَل‬ َ ‫وأَش ِعل‬ َ َ ‫والعروق‬ ،‫والفروق‬ ،‫البنوك‬


I shall make the morning into two halves

I stretch out my arms like a ladder Will the millionth shell fall between us? Is it out of apprehension And foreboding That your repeat your question?

Confirming that their victory is impossible They have not defeated you, so set ablaze the clouds, and the foam For time itself is of foam You have these rifles, small in number You have your arms Shake off the fire from the houses And set ablaze the summits Avenge your hunger Avenge your life And the little skulls to whom you made the promise Of the festival and the kisses... The phosphor is still burning in their skins And set space itself ablaze A group behind you saw Their deliverance near at hand


‫ال ت ِك ْل‬ ‫واحرق الهوا َن‬ ‫أم ٌة تبيع ساعديك للدول‬ ‫ملكت من أمل‬ ‫ بكل ما‬،‫ارضب‬ َ ْ ‫ارضب بلحمك املفتَّت‬ ‫اشتعل‬ ْ ‫اشتعل‬ ْ ،‫واحمل فُتات أهلِ َك‬ ْ ‫فأنت وح َدك البطل‬ ‫ فالنجاة زل ٌة‬،‫تنج‬ ُ ‫ال‬ ‫تصل‬ ْ ‫وأنت لن‬ ‫تنج‬ ُ ‫ال‬ ‫فالنجاة أرسك املدي ُد‬ َ ‫أو‬ ‫منفاك‬ ‫تصل‬ ْ ‫لن‬ ِ ‫واشتعل‬ ْ ‫فواصل النريان‬ ‫ووح َدك البطل‬ َ ‫والنرص نجم ٌة تُيضء من‬ ‫يديك‬ ‫فاشتعل‬ ْ

And they fell, paralyzed By the assassin’s hand And set the banks, the sects, the races afire Do not tire And burn away disgrace Here is a nation, selling your arms to the nations Strike, with all the hope in your possession Strike, with your frittered flesh Ignite And carry the crumbs left of your people Ignite For you alone are the hero Do not save yourself, for safety is a lapse And you would not arrive Do not save yourself For safety is your long captivity Or your exile You would not arrive So resume the firing, and ignite You alone are the hero And victory is a star that shines Between your hands So ignite



‫األنفاس‬ ‫ تقتفي‬،‫البيوت‬ ‫الطائرات تدخل‬ َ َ ‫متنع الحياة‬ ‫فهلّيل للنرص يا فسطاط‬ ‫ أم َة البداو ِة الشامء‬،‫ومتِّعي األنظا َر‬ ‫األنخاب‬ ‫وارشبوا‬ َ ‫رؤوسها‬ َ ‫يا ملوكَها و يا‬ ‫يل‬ ّ ‫وأج ِمعوا ع‬ ‫أترقبون مو َيت البهي؟‬ َ ‫الجبال والسحاب‬ ‫يشو ُع أوصد‬ ‫أوصد الشطوط‬ ‫جيش يَ ْه َوه املختا ُر‬ ُ ‫من ج ّبانة التاري ِخ‬ ‫قاد ٌم إ ّيل‬ ‫فأَطلِقوا أسباطكم‬ ‫يل‬ ّ ‫وأغلقوا شاراتِكم ع‬ ‫قي‬ ّ ‫يا أيّها السال ُم أيها ال ُر‬ ‫أُهديك رأس طفل ٍة مذبوح ٍة بال قَ َود‬ ‫أهديك عنق أمها بال جسد‬ ‫أهديك أذرعاً مقطوع ًة بال عدد‬ َ َ ‫أهديك‬ ‫ال‬...!‫أهديك‬ ‫غ َري حبلك املسد‬

The planes enter the houses Pursue the very breaths Prohibit life So applaud the victory, O Fustat And you proud Bedouin nation, gratify your eyes And drink to our health You who are her kings, her chiefs And gather against me Do you anticipate my glorious death? Joshua has shut the mountains and clouds He has shut the shores And the chosen army of Yahweh From the cemetery of history Approaches me So unleash your tribes And close your ensigns around me O peace, O civilization I present you with the head of a child Slain without vengeance I present you with the bodiless neck Of her mother I present you with severed armed without number I present you with...! I do not present you with Anything besides your own rope of palm fiber



‫عبس من جلودنا‬ ُ ‫تدث ّري يا‬ ٍ ‫داحس‬ ‫وزيّني حدود‬ ِ ‫جنيت يجلب الحسد‬ ‫فام‬ ‫ نفّاث َة ال ُعقَد‬،‫وواصيل‬ ‫فليس للقتيل من بني عروبتي قود‬ ‫ يا الله‬،‫الل ُه‬ َ ‫ أستخ ُري عف َوك املدد‬،‫أرتجيك‬ ‫ أ َحد‬،ً ‫يا واحدا‬ ‫كتبت‬ َ ‫أصابنا الذي‬ ‫فارشب الدماء من عيوننا‬ ‫وم ِّزق البلد‬ ‫فليس للقتيلِ من بني عروبتي قود‬ ‫ال ب ّد أن يستوط َن املخ ّي َم الر ّما ُد والبعوض‬ ‫يك يعشّ ش اليهود‬ ‫يف ّرخ التلمود‬ ‫ ودول ًة‬،‫مذاب ًحا‬...‫يف عظمنا‬ ‫تُكلّل الجهود‬

O ‘Abs, cover yourself in our skins And adorn (with them) the borders of Dahis For that which you have reaped is cause for envy And resume your work, O you who blow into the knots For there is no vengeance to be gained for the slain From my kindred Arabs Lord, O Lord I beseech you, I appeal to your grace for help O you who are the One and Only What you have written for us, has befallen us So drink the blood that issues from our eyes And rend the country asunder For there is no vengeance to be gained for the slain From my kindred Arabs The refugee camp had to be settled By ashes and mosquitoes So that the Jews could build their nests And the Talmud could hatch its eggs, in our bones... As massacres And a state Crowning all their efforts



‫يخط ُر الصباح أس َودا‬ ِ ‫الشطوط‬ ‫يف ّر زنبق‬ ‫يهرب الشذى‬ ‫ويذبل ال ُخزام‬ ‫هذا انفصال الرو ِح‬ ‫سددي سهامك الحمراء يا مدينتي‬ ‫وض َّمني يا بح ُر‬ ُ ‫ينزل املسيح عن صليبه‬ ‫ ويحتمي‬،‫ويستقيل من عذابه‬ ‫فلترشب السامء من دمي‬ ‫وتعرب الجنائز العجولة العروق‬ ‫يكرس النعيق أضلعي‬ ِ ‫ليسقط الحامم‬ ُ ‫لتستوي‬ ‫ماملك الظالم‬ ‫شاحب مي ّر من هنا‬ ‫البدر‬ ٌ ‫وكأس ماء‬ َ ‫ويسأل الجريا َن كِرس ًة‬ ‫وقلبي القتيل برئ ماء‬ َ ‫فغادري البكاء‬ ‫س ُيمطر الهواء نه َر كوث ٍر‬ ‫سيمطر الهواء‬ ‫البدر جائ ٌع ينا ُم يف العراء‬ ‫وقلبي القتيل حقل حنط ٍة‬ َ ‫فغادري البكاء‬ ُ ‫السهول رزقها‬ ‫ستطرح‬ ُ

The morning strides ahead, all black The lilies of the shores take flight The fragrance of the flowers escapes And the lavender wilts This is the spirit’s separation Point your red arrows, my city And embrace me, O sea Christ descends from his cross Retires from his suffering, and takes shelter So let the sky drink of my blood Let the hasty funeral processions cross, over my veins Let the cawing break my ribs Let the doves fall down And let the kingdoms of darkness settle The full moon is pale, and it passes from here And it asks the neighbors for a morsel, and a cup of water And my slain heart is a water well So leave behind your weeping The air shall rain a river of abundance The air shall rain The full moon is hungry, and it sleeps under the open sky And my slain heart is a field of wheat So leave behind your weeping The plains shall lay down their bounty



‫ويُثمر املساء‬ ‫فغادري البكاء‬ ِ ‫النوافذ الجوفاء‬ ‫أ ّوا ُه يا مدينة‬ ‫والفحم والدماء‬ ِ ‫حنظل‬ ٌ ‫الصبح‬ ُ ‫وامل ّر كأسنا‬ ‫فأَس ِكتي الدعاء‬ ‫واألفق معد ٌن‬ ‫ال يوصل النداء‬ ‫يبق من دمي‬ َ ‫مل‬ ‫ما يوقظ الصحراء‬ ‫ّاب‬ َ ‫أو يُنزل الرق‬ ‫عن مقاصل الح ّرية الحمراء‬ ‫ال جدي َد يف صحيفة الصباح‬ ‫قذائف يف القرص‬ ‫سوى‬ َ ‫ تُرعب الرئيس‬، َ‫تُرهب املبعوث‬ ‫فيستغيث‬ ،ِ‫ أو يف القرب‬،ِ‫أقتفي صياح من تك ّدسوا يف القبو‬ ‫يكتب‬ ُ ‫ ال يُصيبني ما‬/ ‫ ألُفسح الطريق للقذيفة العمياء‬/ ‫أنحني‬ ‫اإلل ُه إن‬ / ‫ تكسرّ َ الدخا ُن يف دمي‬/ ‫ أو يصيبني‬،‫عدوت‬ ُ / ‫تطلب الحليب والدواء‬ ،‫تصيح‬ ُ / ِ‫تناثرت قسائم التوزيع‬ ْ ُ ‫ألف طفل ٍة‬ ُ

And the evening shall yield fruit So leave behind your weeping Alas, O city of hollow windows Of charcoal and blood The morning is colocynth And colocynth fills our cups So silence the prayers The horizon is of metal And it does not deliver appeals There is nothing left of my blood To awaken the desert Or make the executioner descend From the red guillotines of freedom There is nothing new in the morning paper Except for shells reaching the palace Terrifying the delegate, terrifying the president So that they call out for help I follow the cries of those who’ve been crammed Into the cellars, into the graves I bend/To make way for the blind shell/ What the God has written shall not befall me If I run, or rather/What befalls me shall be the shattering Of smoke in my blood/The ration coupons have scattered/ A thousand girls cry, asking for milk and medicine/



/ ‫الطريق‬ ‫ أو تناثروا عىل‬،‫ضاع أهل الرب ِج‬ ِ / ‫ تسقط القذيف ُة املليو ُن فوق مخزنِ امليا ِه‬/ ‫يقصفون فرقة اإلنقا ِذ‬ / ‫ناظري‬ ‫ يدفنونها أمام‬/ ‫يحملو َن جثّتي إ ّيل‬ ّ / ‫ ليحملِ الشهي ُد نعشَ ه‬/ ‫يصيح جا ُرنا‬ َ ‫أموت‬ ْ ‫ و ال‬،‫ألف م ّر ٍة‬ ُ ُ / ‫أموت‬ ‫وقت للبكاء‬ َ ‫ال‬ ‫يطاردون ظلّنا‬ ‫وغيم ًة تع ّجل املسار‬ ‫ وتين َة الجوار‬،‫غسيل جار ٍة‬ َ ،ٍ‫وريش طائر‬ َ ‫الطائرات سقفُنا الجديد‬ ‫اإلسمنت و الحديد‬ ‫تُفتّت‬ َ ‫تُكسرّ السامء سقفها‬ ‫وتُشعل الهواء‬ ‫وأنت يف الهواء‬ َ ‫تُقاوم اقرتاب املوت‬ ‫تُنكر استحالة الشهيق والرجاء‬ ‫وتستع ّد النطباق ملجأ البناء‬ !‫فيقط ُر الدعاء أنبياء‬ / ‫ ميوت أو ينا ُم‬،‫دت كامر ٍد‬ ْ ‫ مت ّد‬/ ‫ تستوي سقوفها‬،‫قلع ٌة متي ُد‬ / ‫ األصاب ُع الصغري ُة‬/ ‫ ف ّرت الحجار ُة الصغري ُة‬/ ‫أجهش الكال ُم‬ ُ / ‫حروف أغنياتهم‬ / ‫تبعرثت‬ ‫انتهت إىل الصخو ِر أو‬ / ‫املالعب‬ ْ ْ ُ

The Burj dwellers have been lost, or they have dispersed Along the road/They are shelling the rescue team/The millionth Shell falls on the water tank/They carry my corpse Over to me/They bury it in front of my eyes/I die A thousand times, and I do not die/Our neighbor cries out/ Let the martyr carry his own bier/ There is no time for tears They hunt our shadows And every cloud hurrying on its way And the bird’s feather, and the neighbor’s laundry And the neighborhood’s fig tree The planes are our new ceiling They pulverize the cement, and the metal The sky shatters its own vault And sets ablaze the air And you are in the air Resisting death’s approach Denying the impossibility of sobs and pleas And preparing for the shelter’s collapse And finally the prayers trickle down Like prophets! A fortress totters, all its ceilings meet at one level/ It stretches out, like a giant, asleep or dead/ Words broke out in sobs/The small stones, the small fingers Fled away/with the playgrounds/The letters of their songs/



ً‫ َمقاطعا‬،ً‫ أحرفا‬/ ‫ تناث َر الكال ُم‬/ ‫ّقت من الشقوقِ أمنياتُهم‬ ْ ‫تعل‬ ‫كغابة الخريف‬ / ‫فالوقت للعذاب‬ / ‫ أك ِملوا صياحكم‬/ ‫يا أيها الذين يف الرتاب‬ ُ ،‫ قلوبُنا‬،ً‫ لو تُفيدكم أكفّنا‬/ ‫لو مت ّد ساعدا ً لكم ج ّراف ُة الرتاب‬ / ‫ ويهدأ الكالم‬/ ‫ لو تُزهر الحياة م ّر ًة عىل ِضفافكم‬/ ‫ذنوبُنا‬ ‫صبح للسال ْم‬ َ ‫ ال‬/ ‫يا أيها ال َردى اسرتِ ْح‬ ‫للبحر لونه‬ ‫وللصباح ضوؤه‬ ‫والرصاص‬ ‫ويل مدين ٌة للموت‬ ْ ‫فرنمّ ي معي ترنيمة الخالص‬ ‫لنطر ِد النعاس عن حدود البح ِر‬ ‫نطرد النعاس‬ ‫عام قليلٍ تغرق البحار يف دمي‬ ‫وتُقرع األجراس‬ ‫وأحتمي بصخر ٍة و تُقرع األجراس‬ ِ ‫فأنشدوا لغيم ٍة تح ّجرت‬ ‫س ُيمطر الرصاص‬

Wound up near the rocks, or dispersed/And from the crevices hung Their wishes/Speech scattered/into letters, syllables Like an autumn forest O you who rest in the earth/Resume your cries/ Time, now, is for suffering/If only the dredger could extend Its arm to you/If only our palms, our hearts, our sins Could be of any use to you/If only life could bloom, once On your shores/And speech could turn to quiet/ O ruin, be at your ease/ For peace shall see no dawn The sea has its color And the morning has its light And I have a city of death, and bullets So sing with me the hymn of deliverance Let us chase drowsiness away From the edges of the sea Chase drowsiness away Soon the seas shall drown in my blood And the bells shall peal I will take refuge under a rock And the bells shall peal So sing for a cloud that has petrified The bullets shall fall like rain



‫عام قليلٍ يذهب الصغار نحو ال ّنار‬ ‫يطلبون كرس ًة وغصن برتقال‬ ‫ويطلبون املاء من حدود الغيم والظّالل‬ ‫ وتقطر الجبال‬،‫عام قليلٍ يطفئ الحدي ُد ناره‬ ‫ والندى معاد ٌن‬،‫مالح يف البحر‬ ٌ ‫املاء‬ ‫رسجوا الخيال‬ ِ ‫فأ‬ ‫يكتفي اجتام ُع مجلس العروبة املهيب بالغضب‬ ِ ‫فالسلْم من ذهب‬ ‫والصمت من ذهب‬ ‫وال َح ّل مرتقب‬ ‫وأ ّمة العرب‬ ‫يُريحها الصياح و ال ُخطَب‬ ‫دمي عىل الجدران يا كُامة‬ ‫دمي عىل الجدران يا طغاة‬ ‫لو متلك الصخور أقل َع ْت إ ّيل‬ ‫يدي‬ ْ ّ ‫حنت عىل صغاري املفتّتني يف‬ ‫دمي عىل السام ِء‬ ِ‫فادفنوا رؤوسكم يف الرمل‬ ‫صفّقوا يف ملعب الكرة‬ ‫دمي عىل أكفّكم ويف نحوركم‬ ‫فأين تذهبون؟ ال مفر‬ ‫ و فاضت القبو ُر وال ُحفَر‬،‫ست أشالؤنا‬ ْ ‫تك ّد‬

Soon the little ones shall make their way To the fire Requesting a morsel, and an orange branch Requesting water from the edges of clouds and shadows Soon the metal shall douse its fire, and the mountains shall weep The water is salty in the sea, and the dew is of metal So set the saddle on imagination Anger suffices for the meeting Of Arabism’s much revered council For peace is made of gold And silence is made of gold And the solution is nigh And the Arab nation is pacified By clamor and speeches O valiants, my blood is on the walls O tyrants, my blood is on the walls If they could, the rocks would fly to me And take pity on my children, lying crumbled between my hands My blood is across the sky So bury your heads in the sand Clap away in the soccer field My blood is on your palms, and in your necks So where will you go? There is no way out Our severed body parts have accumulated And the graves and holes have overflown



‫أمطرت سامؤكم من بَ ْع ِدنا‬ ‫ال‬ ْ َ ‫ال‬ ‫أرشق القمر‬ ‫صبح ال مكا َن‬ َ ‫ال‬ ‫فاسحبي الهواء من تنفيس‬ ‫وقسمي الظالل‬ ّ ِ ‫وأطلقي‬ ‫هواك من هواي‬ ‫النهوض والسقوط‬ ‫خذي‬ َ ‫خذي األمان والخطر‬ ‫أجمل العيون‬ َ ‫أسملت فيه‬ ‫وقربي الذي‬ ُ َ ‫خذي ندى‬ ‫خذي دالل‬ ‫خذي كامل‬ ‫خذي النضال‬ ‫وأجمل النساء والرجال‬ َ ً‫اآلن يأيت املوت صاعقاً وفاجعا‬ ‫وترجع السنني‬ ‫ ويسقطون‬،‫ويسقطون من دمي‬ ‫قوموا انزعوا أكفانكم وسافروا معي‬ ‫والسفر‬ ِ ‫وأ‬ ّ ‫رشعوا صدوركم للريح والدروب‬ ‫يا أيها النيام‬ ً‫الرحيل سافرا ً و حارقا‬ ُ ‫أقبل‬ ‫وأمهاتكم يف الريح تنتظر‬ ‫عودوا إ ّيل أيها النيام‬ ‫أقبل الرحيل‬

May your sky never rain after our passing And may your moon never shine There is no morning, no dwelling So draw the air out of my breathing And parcel out the shadows And release your love from mine Take rising and falling Take safety and danger And my grave in which I have gouged The most beautiful eyes Take Nada Take Dalal Take Kamal Take the resistance And the most beautiful women and men Now death approaches, dreadful and grievous And they fall out of my blood, they fall Arise, cast off your shrouds, and journey with me And open your bosoms to the wind, the pathways, the journey O sleepers The departure approaches, bare and burning And your mothers await you in the wind Come back to me, O sleepers The departure approaches



‫ يُلقونها يف اللّيل‬،‫القتيل برتقالة‬ ُ ‫وقلبي‬ َ ‫صوت شاعر الغجر‬ ‫منابت الزيتون‬ ‫يبيك‬ َ ‫يف غرناط َة البعيد ِة املزار‬ ‫قدس يا بعيدة األسوار‬ ُ ‫يا‬ ِ ‫خطاك من خطاي‬ ‫أفلتت‬ ،‫اقرتبت‬ ‫كلّام‬ ْ ُ ‫ يا أهلون‬،‫ يا بطحا ُء‬،‫ يا حمرا ُء‬:‫ناديت‬ ُ ‫ يا ِص ّنني‬،‫خليج‬ ‫ يا‬:‫ناديت‬ ُ ُ ُ ‫ يا‬،‫مضيق‬ ‫فلتنهضوا إ ّيل‬ !‫شت يف بردها كآب ُة السنني‬ ْ ّ‫فالخيام عش‬ ‫هذا هو الرحيل‬ ‫أل ِقني إىل مدين ٍة بال رحيل‬ ‫الرحيل‬ ُ ‫هذا هو‬ ‫ألقني إىل مدين ٍة بال بحار‬ ‫فالليل والرماد‬ ‫وجهي القتيل‬ ‫يتبعان‬ َ ‫واملوت يحبس الحقول‬ ‫الرياح يل‬ ‫دعي‬ َ ‫خذي الزمن‬ ‫دعي الدروب يل‬ ‫خذي الكفن‬ ‫غدا ً أج ّدد األحباب والوطن‬ ‫وصحب َة املدن‬ ُ ‫بريوت مل تكن‬ ُ ‫بريوت مل تكن‬

And my slain heart is an orange, which they cast into the night The voice of the gypsies’ poet Laments the olive fields In Granada, of the distant shrine O Jerusalem, of the distant gates Every time I draw near, your steps slip away from mine I called: O Red Marrakech, O Valley of Mecca, O my people I called: O Strait, O Gulf, O Mount Sinnin Rise to my aid For the misery of the years has nested In the cold of the tents This is the departure Cast me away, to a city with no departure This is the departure Cast me away, to a city with no seas For the night and the ashes Follow my slain face And death holds the fields captive Leave the winds to me And take time Leave the pathways to me And take the shroud Tomorrow I renew my loved ones, and my homeland And the friendship of the cities Beirut never was Beirut never was



‫واآلن‬ ‫والدرب دوننا‬ ِ ‫ساعدي‬ ‫ والسالح‬،‫إليك‬ ‫أُعيد‬ ّ ‫وصحب َة املرتاس‬ ‫نجم َة الصباح‬ ِ ‫أُعيدين‬ ‫إليك‬ ‫أنزع الفتيل عن تو ّهجي‬ ‫عن ظليّ َ الحسري‬ ‫فليس بع َد هذه العش ّية البيضاء‬ ‫من ِعرار‬ ‫تهب الريح؟‬ ّ ‫ملن‬ ً‫لست راحال‬ ُ ً‫سأُشعل املدى سنابال‬ ‫ملن ترفرف النوارس‬ ‫رش يا أيها الفينيق‬ ْ ‫انت‬ ً‫لست راحال‬ ُ !ً‫سأجعل املدى مقاتال‬ ‫بريوت للبكاء‬ ُ ‫ورشفة الحنني‬ ‫بريوت للدماء‬ ‫وأول السنني‬ ‫بريوت مقربة‬ ‫بريوت قُبرَّ ة‬

And now With the pathway separating us I return my arms to you, and my weapons And the companionship of the barricade And the morning star I return myself to you I put to rest my radiance And my weary shadow For beyond this white evening There will be no battle For whom does the wind blow? I am not departing I will set the horizon ablaze With ears of grain For whom do the seagulls flap their wings? Extend, O Phoenix I am not departing I will turn the horizon into a fighter! Beirut is the place of weeping And the balcony of longing Beirut is the place of blood And the first of the years Beirut is a grave Beirut is a lark



‫وحقل بيلسان‬ ‫وآخر األحزان‬ ...‫واآلن‬ ُ ‫وأنت‬ ‫مالك الرتاب و الهواء‬ ‫وأنت أيها املستيقظ الوحيد من العراء‬ َ ‫تدق‬ ّ ‫أول املدن‬ ‫وترفع الزمن‬ ‫عىل هياكل األحباب والسفن‬ ‫وتفتح الطريق للنهار‬ َ ‫بريوت‬ ‫فيك‬ ُ ‫تهز ُم الزمن‬


And a field of elderberries And the last of sorrows And now... Possessing the earth and the air Awakening, alone, from your sleep under the open sky You hammer into shape the first city And you raise time Over the skeletons, of the loved ones and the ships And you open the way to the morning Beirut is in you Defeating time.


By Haroun Hashim Rashid Translated by Khalid Hadeed

ً‫سرنجع يوما‬ ‫سرنجع يوماً إىل حينا‬ ‫ونغرق يف دافئات املنى‬ ‫سرنجع مهام مير الزمان‬ ‫وتنأى املسافات ما بيننا‬ ‫فيا قلب مهالً وال ترمتي‬ ‫عىل درب عودتنا موهنا‬ ً ‫يعز علينا غدا‬ .‫أن تعود رفوف الطيور ونحن هنا‬ ‫هنالك عند التالل تالل‬ ‫تنام وتصحو عىل عهدنا‬ ‫وناس هم الحب أيامهم‬ .‫هدوء انتظار شجي الغنا‬ ‫ربوع مدى العني صفصافها‬ ‫عىل كل ماء وها فانحنى‬ ‫تعب الزهريات يف ظله‬ .‫عبري الهدوء وصفو الهنا‬ ‫سرنجع خربين العندليب‬ ‫غداة التقينا عىل منحنى‬ ‫بأن البالبل ملا تزل‬


We Shall Return, One Day We shall return to our quarter, one day And drown in the warmest of our heart’s desires We shall return, no matter how much time elapses And how much the distance grows between us So have patience, my heart And do not collapse on the road of our return It is hard for us to bear the thought That tomorrow the flocks of birds might return While we remain here Yonder, by the hills, there are other hills That fall asleep, and awaken, to our cherished promise And there are people who are love itself Whose days are the stillness of waiting, singing in sorrow And there are quarters with willows as far as the eye can see Willows that languish and lean toward the waters In their shades the little flowers drink their fill Of the fragrance of stillness, and the clarity of content We shall return The nightingale told me, on that morning When we met at the bend in the road


That the bulbuls are still there

‫هناك تعيش بأشعارنا‬ ‫وما زال بني تالل الحنني‬ ‫ مكان لنا‬,‫وناس الحنني‬ ‫فيا قلب كم رشدتنا الرياح‬ ‫تعال سرنجع هيا بنا‬ ...‫سرنجع يوماً إىل حينا‬

Living on our poetry That between the hills of yearning And the people of yearning There is still a place for us O my heart, how often Have the winds dispossessed us? Come now, let us go...we shall return



By Mu’in Tawfiq Beseiso Translated by Christopher Stone

‫النزول إىل املاء‬ ‫ فالسجني دامئاً يسافر‬.‫ وعلمتني أيضاً الكتابة ملسافات بعيدة‬،‫علمتني الزنزانة السفر ملسافات بعيدة‬ ‫ لتخفيف‬،‫ أحد املعتقَلني‬.ً‫ ثالثة أشهر مل ن َر فيها ال جريدة وال كتابا‬.‫ ويحاول الكتابة بصوته‬،‫بيده يف املاء‬ .‫ والقرآن ال يدخل الزنزانة‬،‫ إن الزنزانة نجسة‬:‫ قالوا‬.‫ طلب القرآن فأحرضوا له التوراة‬،‫هول العذاب‬ ‫ وهكذا عاد شمشون‬.‫ آلهة إرسائيل‬،‫ نحن املعتقلني الفلسطينيني يف السجن الحريب‬،‫هكذا فرضوا علينا‬ ‫ لقد تركناه يف غزة كوم ًة من الحجارة فوقها قبة صغرية ما تزال حتى اآلن إىل جوار‬.‫اإلرسائييل من جديد‬ .‫ فأعادوه لنا اآلن س ّجاناً يف السجن الحريب‬،‫املدرسة الوطنية‬ *** ‫ أول ما يفعله السجني‬.‫ يحفرونها بز ّر قميص أو مبسامر‬،‫عىل حائط الزنزانة يكتب املسجونون أسامءهم‬ ‫ إنه دامئاً يكتب اسمه وتاريخ دخوله السج َن والوطن الذي جاء‬.‫هو أن يكتب اسمه عىل حائط الزنزانة‬ ،‫ فالسجني دامئاً قبل خروجه يكتب تاريخ اإلفراج عنه‬،‫ وكبشارة للسجني الذي سيأيت للزنزانة بعده‬.‫منه‬ :‫كأنه يريد أن يقول البنه أو حفيده السجني القادم‬ ‫ ما سجن انبنى عيل سجني‬.‫وال مستشفى انبنت عىل مريض‬ ***


Descending into the Water The cell taught me long-distance travel. It also taught me long-distance writing. The prisoner always travels with his hand in the water and attempts to write with his voice.

For three months we saw neither newspaper nor book. One prisoner, as relief from the terror of torture, requested the Quran. They brought him the Torah instead. They said that the cell was impure and thus the Quran could not enter it. This is how they imposed an Israeli god upon us Palestinian prisoners in the military prison. This is how the Israeli Samson returned anew. We had left him in Gaza a pile of rocks topped by a small domed shrine beside the National School. They returned him to us now as a guard in the military prison. *** The prisoners write their names on the wall of the cell. They carve it with the button of a shirt or with a nail. The first thing the prisoner does is to write his name on the wall of the cell. He always writes his name and the date he entered the prison and the place he came from. Before leaving, as a good omen to the prisoner who will come after him, the prisoner always writes the date of his release, as if

he wants to say to those to come:

Prisons are not built on the backs of prisoners,

Just as hospitals are not built on the backs of patients. ***


‫ مرة يف السادسة صباحاً حينام متد يدك‬.‫ فباب الزنزانة يُفتح ثالث مرات يف اليوم‬،‫عليك أن تسافر‬ ‫ فمسافة العرشين مرتا ً إىل دورة املياه‬.‫وتتناول “القروانة” وفوقها الرغيف وبعدها تُخرج جردل البول‬ ‫ إنهم يف‬.‫ فهم ال يريدون أن تتذكر أبدا ً أنك كنت متيش ذات يوم‬.‫كان ممنوعاً عىل السجني أن ميشيها‬ ‫ ويفتح باب الزنزانة يف الواحدة بعد الظهر عىل القروانة نفسها وفوقها‬.‫حرب مستمرة ضد ذاكرة القَدم‬ ‫ يف الشهر الرابع كان اليك‬.‫ الكلب البولييس “اليك” قد أكل قطعة اللحم يف حجم رأس الدجاجة‬.‫الرغيف‬ .‫ وعليك أن متد يدك وتتناولها وتأكلها أمام السجان‬.‫ميضغ قطعة اللحم فقط ويبصقها إىل جوار القروانة‬ ‫ ويف الواقع فقد أكل من اللحم‬،‫كان اليك هدية من أملانيا “الغربية” ضمن برنامج املساعدة االقتصادية‬ ‫ وكام أن الكتابة‬.‫ورشب من املرق أكرث بكثري من الذي ق ّدمته أملانيا الغربية إلنعاش الفالحني املرصيني‬ ‫ والزنزانة تفتح‬.‫ غري أن الزنزانة تعلمك كتابة جديدة‬- ‫ هكذا تعلمنا الكتابة‬- ‫تجىء يف خطوط مستقيمة‬ ‫ ويُغلق باب الزنزانة بعدها حتى السادسة‬،‫ القروانة نفسها وفوقها الرغيف‬.‫للمرة الثالثة قبيل الغروب‬ .ً‫صباحا‬

You must travel, for the cell doors at the military prison open just three times a day. They open once at six in the morning when you reach out to grab the bowl with the loaf of bread on top of it, and then send out the urine jar. It was forbidden for the prisoner to walk those 20 meters to the bathroom. They don’t want you to remember that at one time you used to walk. They are continuously waging war on the memory of the step. The doors open again at one in the afternoon for the same bowl and loaf. By then the police dog Lucky has eaten a piece of meat the size of a chicken head. By the fourth month Lucky would just chew the meat and then spit it out beside the tray. You then had to reach for it and eat it in front of the guards. Lucky had been a gift from West Germany as part of its economic assistance program, but in reality he had already eaten in meat and drank in broth much more than Germany had given to raise up the Egyptian peasant. Though we had learned to write in straight lines, the cell taught us a new kind of writing. The cell would open for the third time at dusk for the same bowl and loaf and wouldn’t open again until six the next morning.

*** ‫الجاويش “حسن” املرشف يف سجن مرص العمومي واملرشف عىل املعتقلني الفلسطينيني يف الدور‬ :‫ كان يقشرّ املوز أمام باب كل زنزانة ويبتلعه إصبعاً بعد آخر وهو يقول‬،‫األريض‬ .‫ تعلّموا يا جواميس‬،‫ هذا موز‬-

*** Hasan, the supervising Sergeant of the General Egyptian Prison and the guard in charge of the Palestinian prisoners on the ground floor, was peeling bananas in front of the door of every cell, eating them one after another while saying:

‫ ولكن‬.‫ وأوراق املوز كانت أقامطهم حني يولَدون‬،‫ فقد كانت أريحا عىل خريطة وطنهم‬،‫أما الجواميس‬ ‫ هذا‬.‫ علموه كيف يرضب‬،‫ وبدل أن يعلّموه كيف يقرأ ويكتب‬.‫الجاويش حسن ال يعرف الجغرافيا‬ ‫ وحينام تم ترحيلنا من سجن‬.‫ كان له ولد يف الجامعة يف يده قلم‬،‫الت ِعس الذي وضعوا الكرباج يف يده‬ :‫ بىك الجاويش حسن وقال‬،‫مرص العمومي إىل سجن القناطر الخريية‬ .‫ لقد أخربين والدي أنه يوجد يف بالدكم املوز‬-

“Take note you animals: these are called bananas.”

As for the animals: Jericho was on the map of their country, and when they were born, their diapers were made from banana leaves. But Sergeant Hasan didn’t know his geography. Instead of teaching him how to read and write, they had taught him how to hit. This wretched man in whose hand they put the whip had a son at university with a pen in his. When we were about to be transferred from the



General Egyptian Prison to the Qanatir Military Prison, Sergeant Hasan cried and said: “My son told me that there are bananas in your country after all.” ***


‫ فالسفينة يف السجن هي دامئاً هدية‬.ً ‫عىل حائط كل زنزانة يحاول السجني أن يرسم سفينة أو طائرا‬ :‫السجني القديم للسجني الجديد‬ .‫دمت تسافر‬ َ ‫ لن يتمكّنوا من قتلك ما‬-

‫ والس ّجان “الجوهري” كان يريد أن يسافر هو اآلخر خارج أسوار السجن‬.‫إنها وصية السجن الخالدة‬ ‫ وألن وصية‬.‫ وهو سجني بالفعل فطول نهاره وليله يف السجن‬،ً‫ فالسجان يعترب نفسه سجينا‬.‫الحريب‬ ‫ كان‬،‫ يف الليل كان يغني لنا‬.‫ فلقد كان السجان الجوهرى يسافر بصوته‬،‫السجن الخالدة تنطبق عليه‬ ‫ كان اليك يعضك يف صدرك ويف‬.‫يغني للمعتقلني الفلسطينيني الذين رضبهم وجعل الكلب اليك يعضهم‬ ‫ هكذا‬.‫ كأنه كان يضع قفازات يف أنيابه‬،‫ يف فخذيك دون أن تسيل قطرة من الدم‬،‫ يف كتفيك‬،‫ظهرك‬ .‫علّموه كيف يعض حتى ال يتمكن السجني من النوم ال عىل صدره وال عىل ظهره‬ .‫ اقعد‬،‫ أنت واقف يا ابن الكلب‬-

“They can’t kill you as long as you are travelling.”

walls more than anything, for the guard too considers himself a prisoner. And he is indeed a prisoner, for all of his days and nights are spent in prison, and also because the prison’s eternal testament applies to him as well. The guard al-Jawhari used to travel with his voice. At night he would sing to us. He would sing to the Palestinian prisoners whom he had beaten and had ordered the dog Lucky to bite. Lucky would bite you on your chest and back, and on your shoulders and thighs, without spilling a single drop of blood, as if they had put gloves on his teeth. They had taught him to bite this way so

.‫ويقعد املعتقل الفلسطيني الذي تع ّود القعود خارج أرضه‬

that the prisoner could neither sleep on his chest nor on his back.

“You are standing you son of a dog? Sit!”

.‫ويقف املعتقل الفلسطيني الذي تعود الوقوف خارج أرضه‬ ‫ والسفر كان مستمرا ً أيضاً طول النهار وطول‬.‫هكذا كنا نقعد ونقف طول النهار وجزءا ً كبريا ً من الليل‬ ‫ فجأة تتذكر أنه ميكن أن يخرج من‬.‫ مرة واحدة يف األسبوع كانوا يقدمون لنا بيضة عند الفطور‬.‫الليل‬ ‫ فهنالك يشء ما ميكن أن يحطم‬،‫ فإذا كنت ال تستطيع أن تحطّم قرشة الزنزانة وتخرج‬،‫البيضة يشء ما‬ ‫ وكنت أتصور طول الوقت أن منقارا ً صغريا ً سيرضب القرشة ذات‬،‫ مل آكل البيضة‬.‫قرشة البيضة ويخرج‬ .‫ ولقد طال انتظاري‬.‫يوم‬ ***


from the old prisoner to the new, as if to say:

It’s the prison’s eternal testament. The guard al-Jawhari wanted to travel outside the military prison’s

.‫ قف‬،‫ أنت قاعد يا ابن الكلب‬-

On the wall of every cell the prisoner tries to draw a ship or an airplane. In prison, the ship is a gift

And the Palestinian prisoner who had grown accustomed to sitting outside of his homeland, would sit.

“You are sitting you son of a dog? Stand!” And the Palestinian prisoner who had grown accustomed to standing outside of his homeland, would stand.

And thus we would sit and stand all day, and for a large part of the night as well. The traveling was also continuous night and day.

Once a week they would give us an egg with breakfast. Suddenly, you would remember that something or other could come out of the egg, for if you could not break the shell of the cell and go out, there was at least something that could break the shell of the egg and come out. I didn’t eat the egg, imagining


‫ والسجان الجوهري كان يريد أن يسافر‬.‫ ولكنك تريد سفينة تسافر‬.‫يف الزنزانة أنت ال تريد ديكاً يصيح‬ .‫ ويف الليل كان عليه أن يغ ّني لحسابه الخاص‬،‫ ففي النهار كان عليه أن يرضبنا لحساب اآلخرين‬،‫يف الليل‬ .‫كان السجان يحب‬ .‫ قالوا أنك تكتب األغاين‬-

always that a small beak would break through the shell one day. I waited a long time. *** In the cell, you wouldn’t want a cock to crow, but you do want a ship to travel. The guard al-Jawhiri wanted to travel at night, for during the day he had to beat us on account of others: only at night could

‫ فحينام يتذكر سجانك أن قلامً كان ذات يوم يف يدك فلعلّه ينىس الكرباج ولو لدقائق يف‬.‫تحس بالفرح‬ .‫يده‬

You feel happy. For when your jailer remembers that at one time you had a pen in your hand, perhaps he will forget the whip in his hand even if just for a minute.

He gave me a cigarette for the first time on the fiftieth day, and said to me:

،‫ فلقد أعطاين قلامً وورقة‬،‫ يف األسبوع الثاين حمل السجان أول رسائيل‬.‫وكتبت أول أغنية مقابل سيجارة‬ ‫ وكانت أول مرشوع عروس فلسطينية‬،”‫ وكانت إىل خطيبتي “انتصار‬،‫وكتبت الرسالة األوىل وأرسلتها معه‬ .‫ومرصية تدخل السجن العريب‬ .‫هكذا تحول السجان إىل ساعي بريد يف السجن الحريب‬ *** !!‫– أيها الكذابون ال يوجد معتقل فلسطيني واحد يف مرص‬ ‫ وكنا نسمعه جميعاً يف الزنزانة‬،‫ وكان يرتفع من إذاعة صوت العرب‬،”‫كان الصوت صوت “أحمد سعيد‬ ‫ كان أ“حمد سعيد” هو املاركة املفضلة للراديو العريب يف ذلك‬.‫فلقد متك ّنا من تهريب راديو ترانزيستور‬ .ً‫ متوز يف العراق يف ذلك الوقت أيضا‬١٤ ‫ وكان يو ّجه صوته لهواء ثورة‬،‫الوقت‬


“They say that you write songs.”

:‫أعطاين أول سيجارة يف اليوم الخمسني وقال يل‬ .‫ اكتب‬‫ أكتب ماذا؟؟‬.‫ اكتب أغنية يل‬-

he sing to us on his own account. The jailer was in love.


“Write what?”

“Write a song for me.”

I wrote the first song for a cigarette. In the second week the guard agreed to take my letters for the first time, for he had given me a pen and paper. I wrote my first letter and sent it with him. It was to my fiancé Intisar, the first Palestinian-Egyptian marriage project to enter the military prison. And thus the jailer was transformed into a postman in the military prison. *** “You liars, there is not a single Palestinian prisoner in Egypt”

The voice was that of Ahmad Said, and it came from Egypt’s Voice of the Arabs Radio. We used to listen to him together in the cell as we had succeeded in smuggling in a transistor radio. Ahmad Said was the preferred brand on Arab radio in those days, and he aimed his voice at the airwaves of the 14th of July Revolution in Iraq as well.


‫ واملعتقل أيضاً ألنه رفض أن‬،‫خليل عويضة املرشف العام عىل التعليم يف مدارس الالجئني يف قطاع غزة‬ ‫ صاح‬،‫ ودافع عن إصبع الطباشري يف يد الطفل الفلسطيني‬،‫يغرتف بحذاء الرشطي سمكة يف بحر غزة‬ :‫وهو يُصغي إىل صوت أحمد سعيد‬ .‫ فنحن يف السجن الحريب‬،‫يكذب‬...‫ إنه يكذب‬-

Khalil Awida -- the General Superintendent of refugee education in The Gaza Strip and also a prisoner both for having failed to recognize the value of Egyptian boots on the ground in Gaza and for defending the pieces of chalk in the hands of Palestinian children -- yelled while listening intently to the voice of Ahmad Said:

‫ ورغم ذلك فلقد أنقذنا الهواء القادم من‬،ً‫يف ذلك الوقت كانت املطبعة تكذب وكان الهواء يكذب أيضا‬ .‫ متوز‬١٤ ‫راديو ثورة‬ .‫تسافر‬ .‫يعوم صوتك يف املاء‬ ‫ كان ميلك زورقاً صغريا ً ووضعني يف الزورق‬.‫وأنا يف السابعة أراد عمي “أحمد” أن يعلمني السباحة‬ ‫ ورشبت امللح وعرفت للمرة األوىل كيف أقاتل‬،‫ ويف وسط البحر أمسك يب وألقاين يف املاء‬.‫وراح يج ّدف‬ ‫ وهكذا تعلمت‬.‫ أعادين إىل الزورق ليك يُلقي يب مرة ثانية إىل املاء‬،‫ وحينام أوشكت عىل الغرق‬،‫بذراعي‬ ‫ وأنا مدي ٌن له حتى‬،‫ كان عمي يعلمني وهو ال يدري كتابة الشعر‬.‫السباحة وأنا يف السابعة من عمري‬ ‫ علّمني كيف أقاتل ضد املاء وأنا يف السابعة‬.‫ التي تندلع طول الوقت من بني أصابعي‬،‫اآلن بهذه النريان‬ ‫ إنهم يحتقرون الثعالب ولكنهم‬.‫ واآلن وأنا أقاتل معركة الورق والحرب أعرف ما قد فعل يب‬،‫من عمري‬ .‫ يحتقرون القصائد ولكنهم يشرتون الشعراء‬.‫ ويكابدون كثريا ً يف سبيل اصطيادها‬،‫يشرتون فراءها‬ ‫ بعد أن‬.‫يف العارشة من عمري أخذتني أمي إىل الع ّرافة “أم حسن” ليك تطرد الشياطني التي تسكنني‬ :‫ صاحت‬،‫عيني‬ ّ ‫وضعت يدها عىل رأيس وح ّدقت يف‬ .‫ ال خوف عليه منها فهي شياطني طيبة‬-



“He’s lying! He’s lying: are we not in a military prison!?”

At that time both the printing press and the airwaves lied. Despite that, we got what we could from Iraq’s 14th of July Revolution Radio.

You travel. Your voice floats on the water.

When I was seven my uncle Ahmad wanted to teach me to swim. He owned a small boat, which he put me in and started to row. In the middle of the sea he grabbed me and threw me into the water. I drank the salty water and learned for the first time how to battle with my arms, and when I almost drowned, he brought me back into the boat only to throw me in again. This is how I learned to swim at the age of seven. My uncle taught me and he didn’t know how to write poetry. I am in his debt until today for this fire that burns between my fingers all the time. He taught me how to fight the water when I was seven years old. And now as I fight the battle of paper and ink I understand what he did for me.

They hate the fox but they buy its fur and then tell tall tales of their hunting. Similarly, they hate the poems but they buy the poets.

When I was 10 my mother took me to the fortuneteller Umm Hasan to exorcise the devils that had possessed me. After putting her hand on my head and staring into my eyes, she yelled:


‫ فحينام تسافر يف مركب ألول مرة‬.‫ وكذلك السفر داخل الزنزانة‬،‫صعود الجبل ال يتم يف خط مستقيم‬ .‫فعليك أن تتعلم أخطاء املوانئ وأخطاء الجغرافيا‬ ً‫ عبثا‬.‫قاتلت بها وأنا صغري وأقاتل بها حتى ضد األصوات املعلّبة‬ ‫كان سيد درويش هو القصيدة التي‬ ُ .‫ أن يُقنعني أن أحمد شوقي كان أعظم من املتنبي‬- ‫ لويس عوض‬- ‫حاول الدكتور‬ ‫ وأول من دافع عن‬.‫ عبد الرحمن الخمييس‬:‫أول من نرش يل قصيدة يف مرص كان شاعرا ً مرصياً اسمه‬ ‫ كان كامل الشناوي هو أول‬.‫ كامل الشناوي‬:‫ديوان شعري األول كان صحفياً مرصياً يكتب الشعر اسمه‬ .‫ يف مبنى “األهرام” القديم‬١٩٥٢ ‫من ق ّدمني إىل توفيق الحكيم عام‬ :‫أخرج كامل الشناوي ديوان “املعركة” من درج مكتبه وقدمه لتوفيق الحكيم وقال‬ .‫ اسمع‬-

.١٩٥١ ‫ أول شهيد لحركة أنصار السالم املرصية يف قناة السويس عام‬،”‫كانت القصيدة عن “عباس األعرس‬ ‫ كان كل يشء يحرتق وخرج‬،‫يف مطبعة “أورفند” تم طبع ديوان املعركة قبل حريق القاهرة بيوم واحد‬ .‫الديوان يؤكد رفضه للدخان‬

“Fear not! They are good demons.”


One cannot climb a mountain in a straight line. Travel inside the cell is the same. When you travel in a boat for the first time you have to learn the mistakes of ports and of geography.

Sayyid Darwish is the ode with which I have waged battle against canned voices since I was young. Professor Louis Awad tried in vain to convince me that Ahmad Shawqi was greater than AlMutanabbi.

The first person to publish a poem of mine in Egypt was the Egyptian poet Abdel Rahman Al-

:”‫وراح يقرأ قصائد ديوان “املعركة‬ .‫سقطت فخ ْذ مكاين يا رفيقي يف الكفاح‬ ‫ أنا إن‬ُ

Khamisi. The first person to defend my initial volume of poetry was the Egyptian journalist and poet Kamil Al-Shinawi. He was also the person who introduced me to Tawfiq Al-Hakim in 1952 at the old Ahram building.

Kamil Al-Shinawi took a copy of my diwan The Battle out of his desk drawer and gave it to Tawfiq AlHakim.

He said “Listen,” and began to read poems from it:

“Comrade in arms, if I fall, take my place.”

The poem was about Abbas al-Asar, the first martyr of the Egyptian group “Supporters of Peace” at the Suez Canal in 1951. The Battle was printed at the “Orfand Printing Press” just one day before the Cairo Fire. Everything was burning, but the book came out in defiance of the smoke.



.‫ صالح جاهني‬،‫ فريد كامل‬،‫ حامد ندا‬،‫ حسن التلمساين‬:‫لقد رسمتْه مجموعة من الرسامني املرصيني‬ .‫وصدر الديوان عندار الفن “الحديث” التي كان يُرشف عليها إبراهيم عبد الحليم‬

The illustrations were done by a group of Egyptian artists: Hasan Al-Tilmisani, Hamid Nada, Farid Kamil, Salah Jahin. The book was published by Modern Art Publishing House, the director of which was Ibrahim Abdel Halim.

‫ كان يتصور أنني أحمل مسدساً ولكنني كنت ال‬.‫ طلب توقيعي عليه‬،‫بعد أن قرأ توفيق الحكيم الديوان‬ .ً‫أملك قلام‬

After Tawfiq Al-Hakim read the volume, he asked me to sign it. He assumed that I carried a pistol, when in fact I didn’t even own a pen.

”‫وكتبت عنه “بنت الشاطئ‬ ،”‫كنت طالباً يف الجامعة األمريكية يف القاهرة عندما ظهر ديوان “املعركة‬ ْ ‫ من جريدة األهرام شقّت قصائد الديوان طريقها إىل مجلة‬،‫ ال أدري كيف‬.‫مقالة يف جريدة األهرام‬ ‫رص أحمد‬ ّ ‫ أ‬،‫ وحينام أغراين عبد الرحمن الخمييس بالذهاب إىل مجلة الرسالة لقبض املكافأة‬.”‫“الرسالة‬ ‫ كان يظن أنني جئت إليه دكتورا ً من‬.‫حسن الزيّات عىل أن يرى الشاعر الذي كتب هذه القصائد‬ .‫ فإذا يب ذلك الطالب يف الجامعة األمريكية‬،‫السوربون‬ ‫ من يذكره اآلن يف مرص؟ كان يخلط العرق بالكوكاكوال يف بار‬- ‫لريح ْم الله كثريا ً الدكتور زيك مبارك‬ :‫التوفيقية ويصيح‬ .‫ لن يهلك الشاعر ما دامت الدموع يف عينيه‬-

– known as “Daughter of the Riverbank” – wrote an article about it in al-Ahram newspaper. I’m not sure how, but its poems made their way from al-Ahram to al-Risala Magazine. When Abdel Rahman al-Khamisi convinced me to go with him to al-Risala Magazine to get paid, Ahmad Hasan Al-Zayyat insisted on seeing the poet who had written these poems. He thought I was a professor from the Sorbonne, when in fact I was just a student at AUC.

:‫كنت أبيك كثريا ً كلام ذبحوا دجاجة يف بيتنا وأرصخ‬ .‫ لن نرتكب غلطة أخرى‬ .‫ ألول مرة أرتفع فيها عن األرض‬،‫املؤذن “خليل” كان يصعد يب إىل املئذنة وأنا يف الثامنة من عمري‬ ‫ تعتقد أن االرتفاع عن األرض ال يتم إىل‬،‫ الكاتبة اإلرسائيلية وابنة الجرنال مويش دايان‬،”‫“يائيل دايان‬ .‫بواسطة قاذفة قنابل‬

I was a student at the American University in Cairo when The Battle came out. Aisha Abdel Rahman

God have much mercy on the soul of Dr. Zaki Mubarak. Who now remembers him in Egypt? He would mix Arak with Coke at the Tawfiqiyya Bar and shout:

“The poet won’t be destroyed as long as there are tears in his eyes.”

I’d always cry a lot anytime a chicken was slaughtered in our house, and I’d yell:

“You won’t make another mistake!”

The muezzin Khalil used to take me up into the minaret when I was 8. It was the first time I felt myself above the earth. Yael Dayan, the Israeli writer and daughter of the general Moshe Dayan, thinks that the only way to get above the earth is by way of a bomber.



‫ وعرفت فيام‬.‫ وكنت أظن طول الوقت أنه الله‬،‫يف بيت جدي أليب كانت صورة جدي تحتل صدر الدار‬ ً‫ الذي ص ّوروه كان دامئاً شخصاً معلّقا‬:‫ فصورته ممنوعة من التداول‬،‫بعد أن الله مل يص ّوره أحد بعد‬ ‫ لقد تعب من التعليق فوق‬،‫ كنت أحس دامئاً أنه يريد أن يضع قدميه عىل األرض ومييش‬.‫فوق حائط‬ .‫ وبدل الشمعدان كنت أحس أنه يريد حذاء‬،‫الحيطان وفوق األعمدة‬

In my grandfather’s house there was a picture of him hanging prominently. I always used to think that he was God. Later I found out that no one had managed to photograph God yet, for it is forbidden for his picture to be circulated. What they did photograph was always a person hanging on a wall. I always felt that he wanted to put his feet on the ground and walk, that he had gotten tired of hanging from the walls and from the columns. And instead of a candlestick, I always thought that he


wanted shoes.

.‫ وحينام كان يسقط املطر كان يترسب إىل قفل الزنزانة ويفتحها وتخرج‬،‫املطر هو أعظم أصدقايئ‬ .‫ تسافر اآلن يف القمح‬.‫والسفينة دامئاً تقف أمام باب الزنزانة يف انتظارك‬

*** The rain is my greatest of friends. When the rain would fall it would flow into the cell’s lock and open it so that you could go out. The ship was always in front of your cell waiting for you. You now travel in

‫ فامذا كان يحدث حينام كان السجان يخلط بكرباجه مائة رصخة‬،‫حينام تخلط لونني يخرج لون ثالث‬ ‫؟‬..‫ملعتقل‬

the wheat.

Two colors mixing results in a third color. So what was the result when the jailer mixed with his whip

‫ يبدأ العذاب‬،‫ فحينام يبدؤون بتعذيب جارك يف الزنزانة املجاورة‬،‫العذاب دامئاً يأيت من خارج الزنزانة‬ ‫ فقد ال يأيت دورك يف هذه‬،‫ إنك تنتظر دورك وهم يعرفون كيف يُطيلون عذابك يف االنتظار‬.‫بالنسبة لك‬ .‫ كل رصخة تأيت إليك من خارج الزنزانة لسان نار‬.‫ ولكن ألسنة النريان قد بدأت تشتعل يف عظمك‬،‫الليلة‬ .‫ إنهم يذبحونه بالنار ويخنقونك بالدخان‬.‫دخان النريان يترسب من جسد جارك املعتقل‬

a prisoner’s hundred screams?

The torture always began outside your cell. When they started to torture your neighbor in the adjacent cell, as far as you were concerned, your torture was beginning as well. You waited your turn, and

‫ لقد أدخلوك‬.‫ إنهم يدقون الدخان إبرا ً ومسامري يف عظامك‬.‫الدخان يترسب إىل الزنزانة إبَرا ً ومسامري‬ ،‫ تدخل كل األصوات إىل زنزانتك مختلطة‬.‫يف التجربة ويجب أن تتذكر شيئاً ما ليك تتمكن من املقاومة‬ .‫رشك‬ َ ‫كأنها رصاخ البط الربي حينام يسقط يف ال‬

they knew how to draw out your torture through waiting. Your turn would not necessarily come that night, but the flames of fire had already started to burn in your bones. Every scream would come to you from outside the cell as a flame. The smoke of the fire would rise out of the body of your prisoner neighbor. They slaughter him with fire and suffocate you with the smoke.

‫ ملاذا يح ّوم كل هذا الذباب األزرق فوق أصابع يديه اآلن؟ لقد دخل مرص‬،‫ محمد مهدي الجواهري‬‫ الدخان يتحول‬.‫بدعوة شخصية من الدكتور طه حسني حينام كان وزيرا ً للمعارف يف عهد الوفد املرصي‬ .‫ للشاعر املرصي كامل عبد الحليم‬- ‫ إرصار‬- ‫ صدقي باشا يدخل الربملان املرصي ويف يده ديوان‬.‫إىل ذباب‬ :‫وهو يرصخ‬

The smoke comes into the cell like needles and nails being driven into your bones. They have entered you into an experiment and you have to remember something to be able to resist. All of the sounds enter your cell mixed together like the cry of a wild duck caught in a trap.

Muhammad Mahdi Al-Jawahiri: why does all of this blue fog hang above his fingers now? He entered Egypt on a personal invitation from Dr. Taha Hussein when he was the Minister of Education in the



‫ الشيوعيون يف شوارع القاهرة؟‬-

.‫يف ذلك الوقت كانت القصائد يف شوارع القاهرة‬ .‫نصار عندما كان يأيت يف منتصف الليل‬ ّ ‫كانت أمي تُخبئ قطعة كبرية من اللحم لفؤاد‬ .ً ‫ إنه يتعب كثريا‬

time of the Wafd Party. The smoke changes to fog. Sidqi Pasha enters the Egyptian Parliament and in his hand is a volume of poetry – Insistence[I] – by the Egyptian poet Kamal Abdel Halim, and he shouts:

“Communists in the streets of Cairo?”

At that time it was poems that were in the streets of Cairo.

‫ كان أول من وضعني أمام امليكروفون يف أول اجتامع جامهريي لعصبة‬،ً ‫ولقد كان فؤاد نصار يتعب كثريا‬ :‫ وع ّرفني عىل إميل توما وإميل حبيبي وقال يل‬،‫التحرر الوطني يف سينام السامر يف غزة‬ .‫ تكلّ ْم‬

My mother would hide a large piece of meat for Fuad Nassar, for when he used to come in the middle

ً‫ كان فالحا‬.‫ وجهه كان يشبه التفاحة‬،‫كانت املرة األوىل التي أرى فيها الشاعر عبد الرحيم محمود‬ ‫ ومن‬.‫ هذا املحراث الفلسطيني ترك لنا جسده ليك نُلقي فيه ببعض البذور‬.‫فلسطينياً يكتب باملحراث‬ ‫ أبو‬:١٩٤٦ ‫الشبابيك املفتوحة دامئاً يف يد عبد الرحيم محمود تع ّرفت عىل شاعر العرص الفلسطيني عام‬ .‫سلمى‬

Fuad Nassar did work really hard. He was the first one to stick me in front of a microphone at the first

.‫ إن أمك متوت‬-

‫ كانت أمي ممددة فوق الرسير وإىل جوارها كان أيب وعمي أحمد‬،‫أُلقي بالدفاتر وأركض إىل البيت‬ ‫ كانت يف حاجة إىل يشء‬.‫ والتصقت بها ورفضت أن أترك الفراش‬،‫وعمي عاصم وخااليت األربع والطبيب‬ .‫ما وكنت أحس أن يف استطاعتي أن أقدم لها هذا اليشء‬ ***

of the night.

“He works really hard.”

mass meeting of the National Freedom Federation at the Al-Samir Cinema in Gaza. He introduced me to Emile Toma and Emile Habibi. He said to me:


It was the first time I saw the poet Abdel Rahim Mahmoud: his face resembled an apple. He was a Palestinian poet who wrote with the plough. This Palestinian plough left its body for us so that we could throw some seeds in it. And in 1946 from the always-open windows in the hand of Abdel Rahim Mahmoud, I met the Palestinian poet of the times: Abu Salma.

“Your mother is dying.”

I throw down my notebooks and run to the house. My mother was stretched out on the bed. Beside her were my father, my uncles Ahmad and Asim, my four aunts, and the doctor. I latched on to her



‫ ولقد أرضعتني‬- ‫ كانا غجريني ميشيان عىل الحبل‬- ”‫يف الثامنة من عمري تبعت “ثلجة” و“عبد الرحيم‬ ‫ من يومها علّمتني وهي ال‬.‫عيني فأرضعتني‬ ّ ‫ كانت تُرضع طفلها وكنت عطشان فالحظت‬.‫تلك الغجرية‬ .‫تدري كيف أميش فوق حبل من النار‬ ‫ كان عليها أن تقاوم من أجل يشء ما فقاومت من أجيل‬.‫يف الصباح حدثت املعجزة وعاشت أمي‬ .‫وعاشت‬ ***

.ً‫ اكتب قفط أنك لست شيوعيا‬-

her that thing.


When I was eight I followed Snowflake and Abdel Rahim: they were two Gypsy tightrope walkers. That Gypsy breastfed me. She was feeding her baby and I was thirsty and she noticed my eyes, and fed me as well. Without knowing it, from that day she taught me how to tightrope walk on fire.

.‫ كان عىل أصابعه دم فريد أبو وردة‬.‫السجان ميسح كفه يف حائط زنزانتي‬ ‫ فالرصاخ يأيت من الخارج وهو‬،‫ يأيت يف اللحظة املناسبة‬- ‫حمزة البسيوين قائد السجن الحريب يأيت اآلن‬ :‫يرصخ من الداخل‬

and refused to leave the bed. She was in need of something and I felt that it was in my power to give

In the morning a miracle happened and my mother lived. She had to resist for something, so she resisted for me and lived.


‫ أولئك الذين ج ّردوك من‬،‫ يعطونك الورقة اآلن‬.‫ أولئك الذين كرسوا أصابعك‬.‫إنهم يعطونك القلم اآلن‬ .‫ كانوا يريدون منك أن تكتب‬.‫ أولئك الذين ال يعرتفون إال بأنياب الكالب البوليسية أقالماً لهم‬.‫ثيابك‬ ‫ إنك ترى بوضوح‬.‫ بحر غزة الذي تعلمت فيه السباحة وأنت يف السابعة من عمرك‬.‫تتذكر عيني أمك‬ ‫ كان يعمل جاويشاً يف مركز بوليس املجدل فوضع كل بنادق مركز البوليس يف‬.”‫وجه “فخري مرقة‬ .‫صندوق سيارة وهرب وانضم إىل فصيل الشيخ حسن سالمة‬

The guard wipes the palm of his hand on the wall of my cell. On his fingers was the blood of Farid Abu Warda.

Hamzah Al-Basyuni, the leader of the military prison comes now, just in time. As the screaming comes from outside, he yells from inside:

“Just write that you are not a communist!”

Now they give you the pen. Those who broke your fingers. They give you the paper, those who stripped you of your clothes, those for whom the only pens are the fangs of the police dog. They wanted you to write. You remember your mother’s eyes. You remember the Gaza Sea where you learned to swim at the age of seven. You see very clearly the face of Fakhri Maraqa. He worked as a guard at the Al-Majdal police station, where he put all the rifles of the station in the trunk of his car, escaped, and joined the brigade of Hasan Salama.



‫ كان محكوماً عليه باإلعدام ثم حكموا عليه بالسجن املؤبد‬.‫وأنا صبي زرت فخري مرقة يف سجن عكا‬ :‫ وأحببته كثريا ً وكان دامئاً يقول يل‬١٩٥٧ ‫وهرب من السجن وجاء إىل غزة عام‬ .‫والفقراء لهم النجوم والشعراء‬...‫ األغنياء لهم الله والبوليس‬-

As a boy I visited Fakhri Maraqa in the Akka Prison. He was given a death sentence and then a life sentence. He escaped and came to Gaza in 1975. I like him a lot, and he always used to say to me:

‫ ولكن كل العامل‬.‫ قل فقط أنك لست شيوعياً وسوف تخرج‬.‫كنت ال تريد أن تكتب فتكل ْم‬ َ ‫ إذا‬.‫كان سيسمعني لو قلت هذه الكلامت‬ .‫مخلص عمرو كان رئيس تحرير مجلة “الغد” وكانت صوت رابطة املثقفني العرب‬ .‫ وحينام كان شيوعياً علّمني الكثري‬،ً‫عاش أجمل أيام حياته شيوعيا‬ :‫حمزة البسيوين يدق صوته كاملسامر يف أصابعي ويصيح‬ .‫ قل إنك لست شيوعياً وستخرج‬-

the poor have the stars and the poets.”

“If you don’t want to write then speak. Just say that you are not a communist, and you will be released.”

But the entire world would have heard me if I had said those words.

Mukhallas Amr was the editor in chief of the Al-Ghadi Magazine, which was the voice of Arab

.‫ إنهم يريدون أن يكرسوا صوتك ليك يكرسوا عظمك‬.‫ إنك لست وحدك‬.‫الزنزانة متتلئ اآلن بالوجوه‬ ‫ أما أنيابها‬،ً‫ لقد أطلقوا عليها اسامً إرسائيليا‬.‫ويخرج حمزة البسيوين يتبعه الكلب اليك والكلبة غولدا‬ .‫فكانت أنياباً عربية أصيلة مسنونة من املحيط إىل الخليج‬ .‫ قل أنك لست شيوعياً وستخرج‬-

“The wealthy have God and the police;

Intellectuals Association.

He lived his best days as a communist, and when he was a communist he taught me a lot.

Hamzah Al-Basyuni’s voice is driven like a nail into my fingers as he yells:

“Say that you aren’t a communist and you’ll get out!”

Now the cell fills up with faces. You are not alone. They want to break your voice in order to break your bones. Hamza Al-Basyuni goes out and the police dogs Lucky and Golda follow him. They had given her an Israeli name. Her fangs, though, were authentic Arab fangs, sharpened from “the Ocean to the Gulf.”

“Say that you are not a communist and you’ll get out.”



‫ تقرأ‬،‫ ومن هول العطش لقراءة أي يشء مكتوب‬،‫تتذكر الجريدة التي لفّوا بها الباذنجان والفالفل‬ ‫ وتستطيع أن ترى صورة الشاعر السوري شوقي بغدادي والقصيدة التي كتبها‬،‫الجريدة امللطّخة بالزيت‬ :‫وأخرجته من السجن‬ ً ّ‫كنت ابناً ضالا‬ ُ ‫قد‬ ‫يا عصبة األوحال‬ .‫وخالد الدجال‬

.‫املطر يسقط والدخان الذي كان يترسب من أصوات املعتقلني ومن عظامهم قد أخذ يتالىش يف املاء‬

awesome thirst you had to read anything written, you read the paper stained with oil. And you can see the picture of the Syrian poet Shawqi Baghdadi and the poem he wrote to get himself out of prison:

You led me astray

You scoundrels, who dwell in filth

And you, Khalid, the arch-deciever

Rain was falling and the smoke that was flowing from the voices of the prisoners and their bones started to disappear into the water.

‫ بذرة الخشب التي هي نطفة الشجرة تلقّح املاء اآلن ويتمدد الربق‬.‫وتبدأ السفينة تنزل إىل املاء‬ ‫ يصنع صوته أرشع ًة تكفي لتصنع قميصاً لكل‬،ً‫كالجسد فوق سطح البحر واملعتقل الذي ال ميلك منديال‬ .‫ يصبح اآلن هو القبطان الذي أخذ يستقر فوق املاء‬،‫البحار‬ .‫ الشعراء عينهم عىل القمر ويدهم عىل الرغيف وفمهم مع السفينة‬-

You remember the newspaper that they used to wrap the eggplant and falafel with, and from the

‫ الجراد الذي ال يستطيع أن‬.‫ يبدأ املطر يسقط‬.‫ تنزل السفينة ويبدأ السجني يسافر‬،‫وينزل الفم إىل املاء‬ .‫يقضم املاء يحلم بالسمك‬ .‫ لقد نزل الفم إىل البحر وأصبح سفينة‬

The ship begins descending into the water. The kernel of wood, which is the seed of the tree, pollenates the water now, and the lightning stretches out like a body on the surface of the sea. The prisoner who doesn’t own a handkerchief makes with his voice sails enough to put a shirt on the back of every sailor, and he now becomes the captain who begins to settle on the surface of the water.

The poets’ eyes are on the moon, their hands are on the loaf of bread and their mouths are on the ship. The mouth descends into the water and the ship too, and the prisoner begins to travel. Rain begins to fall. The locusts that can’t eat water dream about fish.

The mouth has descended into the sea and become a ship.



About the Translators

About the Authors Walid al-Hulais (Gaza, 1952) suffered imprisonment and detention at the hands of the Israeli government from 1969-1974. He moved to Egypt to complete his education and studied in Beirut where he received a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Psychology from Beirut Arab University, before settling in Sweden where he lives and works. May al-Sayigh (Gaza, 1940) holds a BA in Philosophy and Sociology and studied the English and Arabic language. She is a member of the National Council and member of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah) and a member of the Central Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (1976-1986). She has developed four collections of poetry and two novels, as well as significant research in women’s issues for Arab periodicals. Fatena al-Ghorra (Gaza, 1974) graduated with a degree in Arabic Literature in Gaza. She has worked as a volunteer in women’s empowerment projects and was a presenter of various local radio programs before becoming the culture correspondent for the news agency Wafa. In 2001 she started to work for a Palestinian satellite station. She is the author of two books of poetry, The Sea is Still Behind US (Gaza, 2000) and A Very Disturbing Woman (Egypt, 2003). Mu’in Tawfiq Bseiso (1926 – January 23, 1984) was a Palestinian poet who lived in Egypt, where he first entered the world of poetry. He finished his primary and secondary education in Gaza in 1948. He started publishing his work in the Jaffa-based magazine Al-Hurriya, where he published his first poems in 1946. Two years later, in 104

1948, he enrolled in the American University in Cairo and subsequently graduated in 1952. His dissertation was titled “The Spoken or Head Word in Lower Eastern Broadcast Media”, discussing the borders between the radio and the tv on one hand and the printed newspaper media on the other hand. He became involved with democratic and national work early on in his life and later dedicated himself to poetry and teaching. On January 27, 1952 he published his first work titled Al-Ma’raka. Somaya El Sousi (Gaza, 1974) works as a researcher in the Social Affairs Department of the Palestinian Central Planning Office. She has published four collections of poetry. Her poems have been translated into Italian, French and English (some of her poems in English translation can be found in Natalie Handal’s The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology, 2001). She is a member of the Palestinian Writers’ Union. Haroun Hashim Rashid (Gaza, 1927) was among the poets in the 1950s named “poets of the Nakba” who captured the spirit of rebellion and revolution. Rashid has published a number of books of poetry and prose, including Gaza in the Line of Fire (Beirut, 1957) Psalms of the Earth and the Blood (Beirut, 1970), and Years of Torment (Cairo, 1970) amongst many others.

Khalid Hadeed (co-editor and translator) is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at Cornell University. His dissertation, entitled Late Modern Arabic Literature: Vistas of Gender in Crisis, examines the intersections between gender and political crisis in late modern Arabic literature from Palestine, Lebanon, and Egypt, including works by the Palestinian writers Ghassan Kanafani, Fadwa Tuqan, and Sahar Khalifeh. He also works in translation, and has translated several documents for the Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum, the Sharjah Art Biennial, and ArteEast. Katharine Halls graduated in 2011 with a BA in Arabic and Hebrew and now works as a freelance translator and teacher. She is currently attempting to learn Welsh, with limited success. Sawad Hussain is a lecturer of Arabic language at the University of Exeter. She holds a Masters in Arabic Literature from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). She is passionate about modern Arabic literature and its translation–particularly the works of female writers. .

fellow in Egypt for the spring 2013 semester. Barrak Alzaid (co-editor) (b. 1985 Kuwait, MA Performance Studies, NYU) is a writer, curator, and artist, and is the Artistic Director of ArteEast. In this role he has developed and launched a residency initiative, curates a monthly artist talk series, and is the chief editor of the ArteEast online quarterly magazine. Recent installation and performance work include Seera Kartooniya [Bushwick Open Studios, 2010] and Diwaniya with Fatima Al Qadiri and Aziz Alqatami [Gwangju Design Biennial 2011]. Curatorial work includes antinormanybody [Kleio Projects, 2011] and Anti-Artist Talks [Performa 11, New York]. His article, “Fatwas and Fags: Violence and the Discursive Production of Abject Bodies” is available in The Columbia Journal of Gender and Law. He is a contributor to Jadaliyya and Ibraaz.

Christopher Stone Christopher Stone is the author of Popular Culture and Nationalism in Lebanon: The Fairouz and Rahbani Nation. He is currently working on a number of translation projects as well as researching the uses of Sheikh Imam in post-January 2011 Egypt. He is Associate Professor and Head of the Arabic Program at Hunter College of the City University of New York. He is also on the faculty of the MA in Middle East Studies program at the CUNY Graduate Center. He will be an ARCE NEH 105

ABOUT SHAHADAT Shahadat is a quarterly online series designed to provide a platform for short-form writing and experimentation in writing by young and underexposed writers from the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). The series features stories, vignettes, reflections, and chronicles in translation and the original language of Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, or Kurdish. It makes up one quarter of ArteEast’s online programming, the AE Quarterly. For past issues of Shahadat click here. ABOUT THIS SERIES Shahadat is proud to run two alternating series, and releases four issues a year. The issue you’ve just perused is part of the “Contemporary Literature in Translation” series which presents contemporary authors in Works are presented in their original language and in translation.. Our other series, “Exploring Popular Literature” challenges traditional understandings of “literature” emerging from the Middle East and North Africa by presenting genres of creative production that rely on words and language but which have not typically been studied as literature. In each issue, we gather texts from a spectrum of writers to challenge the singular status of the artist/author and to encourage a more complex presentation of the Middle Eastern and North African “street” for English-speaking audiences.

SPECIAL THANKS TO: A.M. Qattan Foundation Adania Shibli Alex Ortiz Anna Swank Brinkley Messick Center for Palestine Studies Cigdem A. Acar Khalid Hadeed Livia Alexander Mahmoud Abouhashash Mahnaz Fancy Maryam Zohny Max Stockman Nancy Kricorian Omar Al-Qattan Rayya El Zein Reem Fadda Rosana Zarza Canova Sophie Shammas Wafa Jadallah

Shahadat logo design by Rima Farouki 106



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