on the politics of the dead child -occupation vs humanity

independentLondon

What is a Palestinian State Worth? By Sari Nusseibeh

Reviewed by Guy Mannes-Abbott

Friday, 22 April 2011

Writing about William Wordsworth, Jacques Ranciere celebrated a consideration for “all that is too small” in his poetry about the post-revolutionary landscape of France. The theorist also articulated a post-millennial consensus; lauding the poet for taking care of “the dead child that every politics abandons”. Such a child is the moral focus of Sari Nusseibeh’s new book, but with unintended results. Continue reading “on the politics of the dead child -occupation vs humanity”

on the biting wisdom of poets [two], mahmoud darwish

Mahmoud Darwish Absent Presence Hesperus CoverMine is a very short review in today’s Independent [in which you can also read Robert Fisk direct from al Tahrir Square, Cairo!] but then it’s a very short book and I couldn’t pretend that length diminished this version (in Mohammed Shaheen’s translation) of Darwish’s Absent Presence!

I’ve quoted Mahmoud Darwish’s own use of the word “baffling”, below. What is truly baffling is that in English there are almost as many translators as editions of his books. A lesser voice would have been neutered by this, but Darwish is a national writer on a par with any nation and simply deserves better.

 

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Absent Presence,

By Mahmoud Darwish

Lessons in life from the great divide

Reviewed by Guy Mannes-Abbott

Monday, 31 January 2011

Mahmoud Darwish was a giant of world literature.

This elegant edition of the last completed work before the Palestinian poet’s death in 2008 makes clear why. Absent Presence is a huge little book which defies conventional categorisation. It offers costly wisdoms Continue reading “on the biting wisdom of poets [two], mahmoud darwish”

settlements app, the actuality is significantly worse

The Guardian reports [here] on the launch by American Friends of Peace of an app -Facts on the Ground- designed to keep the shameless growth of illegal settlements to hand. The idea is that, just as with previous historical examples of massive or sustained crimes against humanity, you can’t say you didn’t know. [Re; imminent end of temporary freeze, expect another shorter one with various exclusions -and renewed slaughter somewhere or other- by the masters of exceptionalism. Or out and out resumption of same. They won’t actually stop, they will have to be stopped, actually.]

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So it’s very welcome; you can check the number of illegal settlers of a hyper-nationalist or -religious persuasion and how much of the settlement is classified as “private Palestinian land” just as easily as you can check how many Boris Bikes are at each stop. My only complaint is that even with this to hand the actuality is underplayed. How do I know? Because I’ve walked around these very settlements, onto overlooking hills and photographed them only this summer. I’ve witnessed the actuality and know the truth. Just as every Palestinian imprisoned in the otherwise gorgeous hills knows -something you might ponder.

Continue reading “settlements app, the actuality is significantly worse”

mourid barghouti, i was born there, i was born here

ولدت هناك، ولدت هنا   مريد البرغوثي

This is the front cover of my very own copy of Mourid Barghouti’s latest book I was Born There, I was Born Here, published by Riad El-Rayyes Books in May 2009. In Nablus you can pick up a cheaper pirate copy, but this one is the original with an embossed cover from Dar al Shourouk in Ramallah again.

I excuse my own excitement because I remember when Mourid first mentioned that he was writing this and have been waiting impatiently for its account of the period post 1996 when he was first able to return home -as recounted in the classic I Saw Ramallah- all the way up to and beyond the 2006 elections.

At this stage my Arabic makes reading this very slow work indeed, so I’m glad that Humphrey Davies has been appointed translator of the book and that the American University of Cairo Press [AUC] are scheduling the English translation for November 2011. I know that Bloomsbury were anticipating publishing the book in the UK and will update on both fronts when I receive confirmations. [Yes! Fall 2011 is the scheduled publication date for both.]

Meanwhile, there’s an intriguing 2000-word blog on the book, a first English language review including quite extensive translated passages, here, which I recommend to you.

Finally, given the familial dimension of this book -Mourid visits the alleys and suqs of al Qds/Jerusalem as well as the village of his young life Deir Ghassanah with son and poet Tamim- I can’t resist sharing my pleasure at seeing that novelist, academic, wife and mother Radwa Ashour has a newly translated novel, Spectres [Atyaf], forthcoming from Arabia Books [UK], who have a page here. I hope this will mark the beginning of good translations of all her works into English. In any case the arrival of this one is a major event.

Riad El-Rayyes Books [Arabic] website is here.

AUC Press is here.

Arabia Books here.

Nur Elmessiri article on Radwa’s Atyaf/Spectres in Al Ahram [1999] here.

My earlier post on Mourid’s Midnight and Other Poems, which Radwa translated -and for which I wrote the Introduction– is here.

‘Mourid and Tamim Barghouti with Ahdaf Soueif’ event at the Southbank Centre London, Saturday November 6th is here.

on not meeting edward said, who was right then and is right now

I enjoy unlikeliness and it seemed unlikely to me that Candia McWilliam would find herself in Edward Said’s memoir of his early life; Out of Place: A Memoir [Granta 1999]. That she does so in her own memoir [What to Look for in Winter: A Memoir in Blindness Cape 2010/Vintage 2011] is one of many endearing things about it and its author. Also a high recommendation for Said and his own memoir.

I spent a number of mornings in June this year running past one end of Edward Sa’id Street in Ramallah, actualising the way he and his work feature near the beginning of my adult life and have been returned to repeatedly ever since. I’m posting an old review I did for The Independent of his collection of pieces The End of the Peace Process: Oslo and after [Granta 1999 -out of print/PenguinRandomHouseUS 2001 -linked] [BELOW]. Read almost anything of Said’s [especially on the question of Palestine] and the absence of a voice like his today makes you weep.

Continue reading “on not meeting edward said, who was right then and is right now”

kanafani’s rijal fii al shams/men in the sun, a celebration

I’m just celebrating my acquisition of the book in Arabic from the huge and richly stocked Dar al Shourouk -which is nicely complemented by the small and richly stocked al Jameat- in Ramallah. Since posting on Kanafani I want y’all to know that search engines connect someone to that page every day, which suggests a significant market for the book.

I’m pleased to see that Arabia Books have just re-issued Emile Habiby’s The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist and have a page on it here. (Updated Mar 2018) With the warmest respect to Kanafani’s publisher in Colorado [in English] and in Nicosia [Arabic] I do wish there were a UK edition…

Meanwhile Men in the Sun is available from UK distributors here.

Dar al Shourouk’s Arabic website is here and they can be contacted at shorokpr [at] palnet [dot] com

Al Jameat can be contacted at al-jameat [at] maktoob [dot] com