As a public intellectual, Ella Shohat has found that her personal history profoundly informs her scholarship. Born in Israel to Iraqi parents who had migrated to that country after 1948, Shohat grew up in an Israeli culture that discriminated against Mizrahi Jews. Living a life of contradictions and tension as an “Arab-Jew” – a person of the Jewish religion whose culture and primary language are Arabic, she has found herself on countless occasions having to explain an identity that seemed like an oxymoron, an impossibility, to academics and others.
Leaving Syria: Seeking Refuge in Greece
By Bill Dienst, MD and Madi Williamson
Cune Press, 2017
Under Brush Strokes
By Hedy Habra
Press 53, 2015
In her “Under Brush Strokes,” Hedy Habra has created poems at once sensuous, frightening frightened, and so deeply immersed in the present that each moment appears like “a houseboat floating over a sea of foaming moss so thick/it seems anchored in green dunes despite its full-blown drift.” Her poems also harken to moments deeply reflective about the still-open doors of the past, where “we shall circle the human ruins, hand in hand, rest under/ the coolness of their elongated shadow.”
The Plain of Dead Cities: A Syrian Tale
By Bruce McLaren
Cune Press, 2014.
It seems that the catastrophe in Syria, scenes of which have become painfully commonplace, may now be fertile ground for narrative fiction rich in history and corruption. If so, “The Plain of Dead Cities,” by Bruce McLaren, delivers exactly that. This intriguing book appears to be a travelogue through a dystopia reminiscent of Dante’s “Inferno,” terrible, yet at the same time fascinating. Still, the story leaves much to be resolved.
By Fadi Azzam, Translated by Adam Talib
Interlink Books, 2012
Post-War Anglophone Lebanese Fiction: Home Matters in the Diaspora
By Syrine Hout
Edinburgh University Press, 2012
I Was Born There, I Was Born Here
By Mourid Barghouti, Translated by Humphrey Davies
Walker & Company, New York, 2011
Once Upon the Orient Wave
By Eid Abdallah Dahiyat
Hesperus Press, London, 2012