Essays and Features

On Translating Adonis and Nadia Tueini The Many Definitions of a Translator

By 
Samuel Hazo

Translation occurs when some-thing is changed or transformed into something else, when one thing becomes another. Defined and understood in this way, the very acts of speaking and writing in and of themselves can be regarded as acts of translation–the transformations of feelings or thoughts into sounds or markings that, by common agreement and necessity, stand for those feelings and thoughts–thus making the sharing of experience possible through what is then called communication or, in the hands of poets, communion.

Al Jadid on Adonis -- A Poet Responds Some Further Remarks on Arabic Poetry

By 
Etel Adnan

Al Jadid's feature paper on Adonis' views on Arab poetry was most interesting and thus calls for some further debate. As an Arab-American poet and one familiar with the works of most contemporary Arab poets I would both agree and disagree with what was said.

It is true that "tarab" is intrinsic to Arabic poetry's past and present, as it is intrinsic to Adonis' own poetry. "Tarab" being, at its best, the sort of ecstasy reached when the musicality of the verse coincides with the visionary quality of the thought expressed.

Arab Journals Provide Rich But Neglected Sources for Study of Arab World

By 
Nezar Andary

There seems to be an almost surreal gap between the realities in the Arab world and the lectures, books, and conferences concerning Arabs, Islam, and the Orient that are produced in the West. For too long, Western scholars have been ignoring the types of dialogue occurring in the context of contemporary Arab cultural phenomena such as plays, journals, cinema, and intellectual discourse. This neglect of primary Arab sources affects the whole field of Arab studies, or as it is called in some places Oriental Studies.

We Turn the Page from City to City

By 
Marcel Khalifé

For the tenth time we are visiting the United States of America, representing our beautiful Lebanon in a mission of art, specifically music. For the tenth time, we are performing in American cities filled with millions who came from the ends of the earth to earn a day's mouthful-which grows ever smaller. Arabs have come from all their various countries, for one reason or another. When we meet with them, they tell us of their toils and troubles, and we bring them messages of our homelands which burden our hearts.

Egypt, Other Mideast Countries See Earliest Stage of AIDS Epidemic

By 
Cesar Chelala

The latest figures on AIDS in a global scale reported by the World Health Organization are a cause for sobering reflection. They indicate that by the end of 1997, 30.6 million people worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS, and that 5.8 million people were infected with HIV in 1997, which represents approximately 16,000 new HIV infections per day. North Africa and the Middle East have 210,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, and in 1997 that region had 19,000 new cases of HIV infection.

Generations of Catastrophe: The Palestinian Problem at Half a Century

By 
Elie Chalala

The psychological disorder afflicting Arab cultural life since 1948 has not been healed by any peace agreement, as Arab intellectuals continue to bombard each other with charges of "sleeping with the enemy." Most recently, a pro-Palestinian group in Lebanon decided to remember al-nakba through poetry, music, and panels featuring Jewish intellectuals born in the Arab world. But an orchestrated campaign of extreme nationalist Lebanese and Palestinian groups succeeded in canceling the panel, although the Jewish participants were a Moroccan author, an Egyptian psychologist, a Lebanese journalist, all known for their uncompromising support of the Palestinians.

Both in the Arab world and diaspora, Arabs are remembering what they refer to in Arabic as al-nakba, the "uprooting" and the "catastrophe" that befell the Palestinians when Israel was carved out of their homeland in 1948.

Al-Nakba-- Dark Ruins of the Tribal Poets: Tragedy Expressed Via New Literary Forms Infuses Half a Century of Palestinian Poetry

By 
Judith Gabriel

For a people whose love of poetry has been rooted in their land for centuries, it is no wonder that the loss of Palestine in 1948 marks the emergence of contemporary Palestinian poetry, impacting the very nature of literature throughout the Arab world, and ultimately, attracting a growing Western audience.

Half a century has gone by since the onset of the history-shattering events Palestinians refer to as al-nakba - the ‘uprooting,’ the ‘catastrophe’ that befell their homeland with the carving out of the state of Israel, the ‘disaster’ that still infuses their poetry.

Arab Journals Provide Rich But Neglected Sources for Study of Arab World

By 
Nezar Andary

There seems to be an almost surreal gap between the realities in the Arab world and the lectures, books, and conferences concerning Arabs, Islam, and the Orient that are produced in the West. For too long, Western scholars have been ignoring the types of dialogue occurring in the context of contemporary Arab cultural phenomena such as plays, journals, cinema, and intellectual discourse. This neglect of primary Arab sources affects the whole field of Arab studies, or as it is called in some places Oriental Studies.

An Author Responds The "Crime" of Disturbing Calm Waters with a Pen

By 
Laila al-Othman

This statement was issued by Ms. Laila al-Othman in Beirut on January 25, 2000, after her conviction of indecent writing by a Kuwaiti court. It was translated and edited into English by Elie Chalala.

Has the world become so controlled that even the birds and butterflies are not allowed to fly freely?

Have peoples' minds sat unused for so long that the lock to open them has rusted solid?

Reflections on Kabbani: Erotics and Politics Embrace in Poetic World of Reckless Women and Sultan's Daughters

By 
Mohja Kahf

 

The work of the recently departed and much-loved poet Nizar Kabbani is usually treated as if he wrote in two categories: erotic poetry and political poetry. Even in his eight-volume collected works, political poetry is in separate volumes. In fact, his politics laces his love poetry, and his erotic sensibility is never far from the scene of his political poetry.

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