BOOK REVIEWS IN FORTHCOMING AL JADID, VOL. 24, NO. 78, 2020

Israeli Activist Narrates Palestinian Daily Struggle 'Behind the Wall'
By 
Al Jadid Staff


Jewish-Israeli author Ilana Hammerman’s recent memoir, “A Small Door Set in Concrete” (University of Chicago Press, 2019), takes readers into life after decades of occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This memoir traverses the experiences of Palestinien men, women, and children living behind the wall who are unable to move and act freely.

ESSAYS IN FORTHCOMING AL JADID, VOL. 24, NO. 78, 2020

Bandar Abdel Hamid (1947-2020): Editor and Poet Transformed His Humble Damascus Apartment into Inspiring ‘Literary Salon’
By 
Elie Chalala

The “beautiful Bedouin poet” Bandar Abdel Hamid passed away at the age of 73 on February 17, in his Damascus home from a heart attack. He died quietly, discovered 16 hours later to have had a heart attack, without anyone being able to help him. His death sent a painful shock to his many friends in Syria and throughout the Arab world. A leading poet of the 1970s, Bandar’s work contributed to Arab culture and enriched film criticism while encouraging creativity in his peers;  he transformed his humble apartment in Damascus into a stage for all forms of art and dialogues among intellectuals, friends, and strangers.

ESSAYS IN FORTHCOMING AL JADID, VOL. 24, NO. 78, 2020

Silent in First Person: Where is the Confessional Autobiography in Arab Literature?
By 
Al Jadid Staff

Confessions in autobiographies can achieve two things: they reveal all that the writers have concealed about their lives, or they serve to offend those around them in doing so. Some have used confessions to elevate their own characters, depicting their actions as courageous while recalling the wrongs done against them throughout their life. In Arab tradition, writers wish their readers to see them in a positive light, and readers look to autobiographies for ideal figures and role models for future generations, drawing on religious traditions and figures. Rather than touch on his misdeeds, the writer would instead share his accomplishments, highlighting only the positive parts, according to Ehab al-Najdi. The 2015 publication of the Egyptian Najdi’s “Literature of Confessions: Analytical Approaches from a Narrative Perspective” (Dar al-Maaref) examines the complex obstacles and scarcity of confessional writings in the Arab world.

ESSAYS & FEATURES IN FORTHCOMING AL JADID, VOL. 23, NO. 77, 2019

Despite Decades-Old Controversies, Iraqi Poet Badr Shaker al-Sayyab Still Relevant!
By 
Al Jadid Staff

The Arab cultural scene never tires of Iraqi poet Badr Shakir al-Sayyab’s legacy, refusing to let it rest even 55 years after his death. The recent publications of Jasim al-Muttair’s “The Swinging Moods of Badr Shakir al-Sayyab,” as well as several columns on the poet by Iraqi writer Yassin al-Dulaymi and Lebanese columnist Mohammad al-Houjeiri, have again brought the poet’s life into the public eye. Sayyab did not shy away from politics in his work. “He was the kind of person who thought that a literary person and an educated person and a poet had a duty to get involved in the politics of his country and his nation and to point his finger and to be on the side of the poor and the struggling sectors of society. Governments were not, still are not, accepting of people who are not accepting of their line,” said his son, Ghailan al-Sayyab, in an interview with The National.

FILM REVIEWS FORTHCOMING IN AL JADID, VOL. 23, NO. 77, 2019

‘Out on the Burning Sands’
By 
Al Jadid Staff

Despite being a 20-year-old film, “Hollywood Harems,” directed by Tania Kamal-Eldin, discusses myths and fantasies of Orientalism and Arab women that still resonate today. The documentary takes a close look at several films, from “The Sheik” (1921) to “The Mummy” (1932), and others spanning between the 1930s and 1960s, with a sharp focus on the portrayal of women -- from fictionalized harems and the voyeuristic “intruder’s gaze” of men, to the depiction of their exploiters as Arab men and saviors as white men.

For a Friend Sorely Missed

Moayyad al-Rawi (1939-2015)
By 
Elie Chalala


This brief column can only begin to do justice to Iraqi poet and critic Moayyad al-Rawi. A longer tribute will appear in Al Jadid’s next issue later this year (Vol. 23, No. 77, 2019).

Moayyad, who died in 2015, fled the Iraqi dictatorship in 1970 for Lebanon, making it his first stop in a life in exile; it is there I met him. Imprisonment and repression following the 1963 Baathist coup forced him to leave Baghdad and Kirkuk, which he loved, and which figured prominently in his writings.

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