Mahmoud Darwish has been writing poetry since his teenage years, more than 40 years ago. His first collection of poems was “Asafir bila Ajniha” (Birds Without Wings), published in 1960. He is a prolific and appealing writer with 20 books of poems to his name and is arguably the most popular Palestinian poet in the Arab world today.
The polemical issue of boycott is a longstanding one in Arab political, economic and cultural discourse. Not only has most of the Arab world long boycotted Israeli economic products, as well as cultural events that include Israeli participation, but boycotts have also targeted Western products if their producers conduct trade with Israel. Excluding a few Arab states and those states which signed peace agreements with Israel, the issue of boycott remains present today.
Two years ago, Al Jazeera English launched a campaign claiming that Al Jazeera English would distinguish itself from its Arabic-language counterpart by being less ideological and partisan. However, recent resignations from the 24-hour international news channel suggest a different reality. David Marash, the channel’s Washington-based anchor, resigned when his two-year contract expired March 2007. According to The New York Times, Marash, a familiar face to ABC’s “Nightline” viewers, cited “increased editorial control” as one of the main reasons for his departure.
Yassin Ahmad Yassin, the intellectual known in Syria and the Arab world as Abou Ali Yassin, is recognized for his rich and far-reaching contributions in the fields of gender, political theory, sociology, psychology, literature of wit and jokes, and others. Yassin’s rich life ended on March 18, 2000, after a brief struggle with cancer. He was just 58 years old.
Syrian novelist Hani al-Rahib, who died on February 6, 2000, at the age of 61, used to call the novel an immunization against madness. Certainly some creative people are so afflicted, while others obviously struggle to stave it off. Dostoevsky’s epileptic fits convinced some that he was insane, and even if Dostoevsky was not clinically insane, he lived in a continual crisis and suffered from depression; the novel was a mechanism of escape from these realities. Many agree that Ernest Hemingway feared madness, a fear he kept at bay through writing.
Not a long time ago, I received a letter from Moussa Kreidieh, just before his death, thanking me for sending him the equivalent of $100 as payment for two articles I had arranged for him to have published in an Arab newspaper outside of Iraq. “I had only two options: either selling my car or leaving it to rust from rain and sun, not to mention that it badly needed two sets of tires after they have been going flat. Now with the $100 I am able to purchase two new tires and spare the death of my car,” said part of Kreidieh’s letter.
Many readers had to wait until the recent death of Iraqi poet Youssef al-Sayigh to learn the details of his problematic life. Major events often thrust sad and hidden details into the open, and al-Sayigh’s death in Damascus on December 12, 2005, was a key event indeed.
Al-Sayigh was a famous Iraqi poet, novelist, playwright, essayist and painter. Two tragedies, one political and one personal, influenced his prominent literary career.
I grew up and still live in the upstate New York City of Utica, on the East side, which is largely an Italian American neighborhood intermingled with a small percentage of Lebanese Americans. The “Americans,” as we called them, lived on the other side of town and were largely unknown to the children of East Utica. Our community was a wonderful place to grow up, and it provided a most happy childhood.
“Burned Alive” is a best-selling memoir that recounts an Arab woman’s survival of an honor killing. It has been translated into numerous languages, is in school libraries, on university reading lists and recommended to anyone seeking the “truth” about Middle Eastern women’s life stories. Despite its wide circulation, “Burned Alive” has never been authenticated. Australian historian Thérèse Taylor describes how she came to doubt every word of it.
Two weeks after the Association of Arab-American University Graduates' first convention in Lebanon, the local press still reverberated the event's impact, with the Daily Star, the local English-language daily, featuring an interview with three convention speakers on the damage caused by sanctions against Iraq. The article was one of several in the Lebanese press on the AAUG convention, held in Beirut in late June 2000 and co-hosted by CAUS, the Center for Arab Unity Studies, which has its head office in Beirut.