I take my title from an essay by Salman Rushdie, in which he reflects on the need many expatriates, exiles, and just plain emigrants feel to look over their shoulder at the land that they have left behind and that now seems lost to them. And, if they’re writers, to try to recreate it in the literature they produce.
Essays and Features
A New Book Debunks Muhammad Abd al-Jabberi’s Theory, Sources, and Interpretations
It was on a day, much like today (Saturday, June 30), the day of the Gay Pride Parade in Paris, that I met my friend, the writer Ilfat Idilbi, for lunch at Les Deux Magots a few years ago. I had not realized that the Gay Pride Parade would be taking place when I’d first proposed that date for our meeting – I dreaded crowds and noise, both things that did not bother Ilfat Idilbi in the least. As soon as we settled on the terrace, the parade floats began turning down Boulevard St. Germain.
A painting, in its most basic form, is a piece of colored canvas pulled taut across a wooden frame. The history of canvas painting has yet to be told, for while we can identify the beginnings of painting in the Italian Renaissance, we still do not have an account for its spread to studios, homes, and various other venues where it is housed around the world. Indeed, the painted canvas has spread among so many cultures and peoples that, today, it has come to represent the most widely accepted understanding of painting.
“If you are a traditional Muslim you might be disturbed by parts of this book. But if you are an enlightened Muslim you will realize that dialogue is a characteristic of the modern age. There is no dialogue without difference and without the ability to tolerate different opinions.
Nassif Nassar has a long-term research project and his latest book, titled “Al Zaat wa al-Hudur, Bahith fi Mabade’ al-Woujoud al-Tarikhi” (The Self and Existence: a Study in the Principles of Historical Existence), and published in Beirut by Dar al-Talia (2008), is the next step in this endeavor. In it, he characterizes Man, as the free and sovereign maker of his own social and political life, a depiction that has been routingly impunged by all types of of deterministic theories.
In Washington, D.C., a memorial garden dedicated to the great Lebanese poet and philosopher Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) sits nestled between the offices of world diplomats. A gift to the United States from the Kahlil Gibran Centennial Foundation, the garden park can be found on Massachusetts Avenue’s Embassy Row.
As happens in the West, Arab culture often celebrates authors at the expense of publishers. Also like their Western counterparts, Arab publishers tend toward commercialism and self-interest, jeopardizing the public’s best interest. And, typically, they are only too ready to abandon authors of manuscripts deemed “controversial,” as well as those on whose behalf they receive threats from governments or non-governmental groups. But Lebanon, and even the Arab world, prides itself on the exception that was Dr.