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English Translation of an Excerpt of Rabai’ Al- Madhoun’s Novel “The Lady Is From Tel Aviv” ترجمة قطعة من رواية ربعي المدهون السيدة من تل أبيب

Literary, Translations, Uncategorized

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Walid Dahman’s Story

Tomorrow morning Walid Dahman arrives in the Gaza Strip. His mother does not believe the news, considers it a rumor, a myth, just like the Palestinians’ return to their land.

Every morning she asks,”I wonder if my son will return, if I’ll see him before I die so I can tell him all that I’ve kept from him and he can tell me all I haven’t heard”. She’s been asking that question over and over again for 38 years. She listens carefully to the whispers of the wind and the echo of the question. She gathers her disappointment and folds it with the bedsheets. And in the evening, she goes to bed with the disappointment and wakes to the question. When Walid called her, she almost heard his voice in London, “I’m coming to Gaza… I’m coming back home”. She didn’t believe him. She became fevered and trembled at the surprise,”What would bring you back after being away for so long?”.

Walid arrives at around nine. His visit is no longer an idea or merely a possibility. He had bought a ticket to Tel Aviv, picked his time of arrival so he could be at his mother’s at that exact time so that they could have breakfast together. He said she’d been preparing it for 38 years and it is time to have that meal.

He carried his big suitcase, hung a smaller bag on his left shoulder, put his British passport in the his shirt pocket, right where his heart is. He closed the door behind him and left.

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Excerpt from Radwa Ashour’s “The Woman from Tantoura” Translated Into English ترجمة فقرة من “الطنطورية” لرضوى عاشور

Literary, Translations, Uncategorized

الطنطورية excerpt from "The woman from Tantoura"

What do I do with that kiss? Where do I go with it? I’ll forget it ever happened. I’ll lose it on purpose and it’ll get lost. I went to Wissal, sought refuge in her as she, her mother and little brother had on that day long ago sought refuge in us. I hid behind her. I concentrated on her voice. It sounded strong and painstakingly close. Who says telephones allow us to connect? They don’t. They only affirm the distance by forcing you to come face to face with what you know, like the edge of a knife on your skin feels for the nerve, rips apart your warm skin and strikes. Her voice came to me close and clear and I was on the other side. We were like two women separated by glass, the barrier separating a prisoner from his visitor. More precisely: glass separating a prisoner from a prisoner. Even so, I’ll get ready. I’ll talk to her like she talked to me. I’ll swallow the lump in my throat, suppress the chill and the well of tears. Tomorrow.

The Bastard of Istanbul book cover

The Bastard of Istanbul-Elif Shafak لقيطة اسطنبول


Rain is an agony here. In other parts of the world, a downpour will in all likelihood come as a boon for nearly everyone and everything-good for the crops, good for the fauna and the flora, and with an extra splash of romanticism, good for lovers. Not so in Istanbul though. Rain, for us, isn’t necessarily about getting wet. It’s not about getting dirty even. If anything, it’s about getting angry. It’s mud and chaos and rage, as if we didn’t have enough of each already. And struggle. It’s always about struggle. Like kittens thrown into a bucketful of water, all ten million of us put up a futile fight against the drops. It can’t be said that we are completely alone in this scuffle, for the streets too are in on it, with their antediluvian names stenciled on tin placards, and the tombstones of so many saints scattered in all directions, the piles of garbage that wait on almost every comer, the hideously huge construction pits soon to be turned into glitzy, modem buildings, and the seagulls…. It angers us all when the sky opens and spits on our heads.

فقرة مترجمة من لقيطة اسطنبول

The Kite Runner Book Cover

The Kite Runner Arabic Translation

Literary, Translations, Uncategorized

Chapter One
December 2001

I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.

One day last summer, my friend Rahim Khan called from Pakistan. He asked me to come see him. Standing in the kitchen with the receiver to my ear, I knew it wasn’t just Rahim Khan on the line. It was my past of unatoned sins. After I hung up, I went for a walk along Spreckels Lake on the northern edge of Golden Gate Park. The early-afternoon sun sparkled on the water where dozens of miniature boats sailed, propelled by a crisp breeze. Then I glanced up and saw a pair of kites, red with long blue tails, soaring in the sky. They danced high above the trees on the west end of the park, over the windmills, floating side by side like a pair of eyes looking down on San Francisco, the city I now call home. And suddenly Hassan’s voice whispered in my head: For you, a thousand times over. Hassan the harelipped kite runner.

I sat on a park bench near a willow tree. I thought about something Rahim Khan said just before he hung up, almost as an afterthought. There is a way to be good again. I looked up at those twin kites. I thought about Hassan. Thought about Baba. Ali. Kabul. I thought of the life I had lived until the winter of 1975 came along and changed everything. And made me what I am today.

الفصل الأول

ديسمبر ٢٠٠١


أصبحت الشخص الذي أنا هو اليوم في يومٍ غائم قارس البرودة في شتاء عام ١٩٧٥ حين كنت في الثانية عشر من عمري. أذكر تلك اللحظة.  كنت مقرفصاً وراء حائط طيني يكاد ينهار.أختلس النظر إلى الزقاق بقرب البحيرة المتجمدة. لقد مرّ زمن طويل على ذلك اليوم ولكنني تعلمت أنه لا يمكننا دفن الماضي كما يقولون لأنه يتسلل من بين ثنايا الدهر.أدرك الآن أنني  كنت أختلس النظر إلى ذلك الزقاق المهجور طوال السنوات الستة والعشرين الماضية

اتصل بي صديقي رحيم خان في الصيف الماضي من باكستان وطلب مني أن آتي لأراه.  وأنا واقف في المطبخ والهاتف على أذني علمت بأنه لم يكن رحيم وحده فقط من ينتظرني على الجانب الآخر بل الماضي المليء بالسيئات التي لم أكفرعنها. بعد إنهاء المكالمة ذهبت لأتمشى عند بحيرة سبركلز في الجانب الشمالي من حديقة غولدن غيت. لمعت أشعة الشمس في ساعة الظهر الباكرعلى سطح الماء حيث أبحرت عشرات القوارب الصغيرة التي تدفعها نسمة هواء منعشة. نظرت إلى الأعلى ورأيت طائرتين ورقيتين لونهما أحمرذو ذيل أزرق طويل محلقتين في السماء. لوحتا عالياً فوق الشجرات في الجانب الغربي من الحديقة وفوق طواحين الهواء وطارتا جنباً إلى جنب كعينين تنظران من الأعلى على سان فرانسيسكوحيث أعيش الآن. وفجأة  همس في ذهني صوت حسن عدّاء الطائرات الورقية ذو الشفة الأرنبية:  لأجلك، لقمت بذلك ألف مرة

جلست في الحديقة على مقعد بجانب شجرة صفصاف. فكرت بما قاله رحيم خان قبل إنهاء المكالمة كأن الكلمات خطرت في ذهنه عندها فقط. هناك فرصة لتكن شخصاً جيداً ثانيةً. نظرت إلى الطائرتين التوأمين. فكرت بحسن. فكرت ببابا.علي. كابول. فكرت بالحياة التي عشتها حتى جاء شتاء ١٩٧٥ وغيّر كل شيء. وجعلني من أنا اليوم  

The Art of War book cover

Quotes From Sun Tzu’s The Art of War

Literary, Translations, Uncategorized

“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”

― Sun TzuThe Art of War

ابدُ ضعيفاً حين تكون قوياً وابدُ قوياً حين تكون ضعيفاً

سان تزو فن الحرب

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
― Sun TzuThe Art of War

” أرفع أنواع الفن هو قهر العدو دون قتاله “

سان تزو فن الحرب

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

” إذا عرفت العدو وعرفت نفسك لا داعي للقلق حول نتيجة مئة معركة. إذا عرفت نفسك دون معرفة العدو ستخسر معارك بعدد تلك التي ستربحها. إذا لم تعرف العدو ولا نفسك، ستخضع في كل معركة.

“Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

” أعظم امتياز هو كسر مقاومة العدو دون القتال.

“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

“لتكن خططك قامتة ولا يمكن خرقها كالليل وحينما تتحرك كن كالرعد.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”

” بفوز المقاتلون المنتصرون أولاً ثم يخوضون الحرب أما المقاتلون المهزومون يخوضون الحرب أولاً ثم يسعون للفوز

“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

“كل القتال مبني على الخداع، لذا حين نكن قادرين على الهجوم يجب أن نبدو عكس ذلك وعندما نستخدم قواتنا يجب أن نبدو وكأننا لا نتحرك وعندما نكن قريبين يجب أن نشعر العدو أننا بعيدين وعندما نكن بعيدين يجب أن نجعله يشعر بأننا قريبين.

“Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?”

“هل يمكنك تخيل ما سأفعله إن فعلت كل ما أستطيع فعله؟

“Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory:
1 He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.
2 He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.
3 He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.
4 He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
5 He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.”

“لذا نعرف أن هناك خمس أساسيات للانتصار:

١يفوز من يعلم متى يقاتل ومتى لا يقاتل.

٢ يفوز  من يعلم كيف يتعامل مع القوات الأقوى والأضعف منه.

٣ يفوز من يتمتع جيشه بنفس الحماس في كافة الرتب.

٤ يفوز من جهز نفسه وينتظر ليوقع بالعدو دون أن يتوقع/ دون استعداد.

٥ يفوز من لديه قوة عسكرية ولا يتدخل في شؤونه رئيس.”

“When the enemy is relaxed, make them toil. When full, starve them. When settled, make them move.”

“حين يكن العدو مسترخي دعه يرهق. حين يكن شبع دعه يتضور جوعاً. حين يكن ساكناً دعه يتحرك.”

“Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain.”

“تحرك بسرعة الريح و تراص الخشب. اهجم كالنار وكن ثابت كالجبل.”

“There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. ”

“لا يوجد مثال لبلد استفاد من قتال طال أمده”

“Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.”

“عامل جنودك كما تعامل أولادك وسوف يتبعوك إلـى أعمق وادي.”

“When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.”

“حينما تحاصر جيشاً اترك منفذ. لا تشدد الضغط على عدو بائس.”

“To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill”

“ليس قمة المهارة أن تحرز على مئة انتصار في مئة معركة بل خضوع العدو دون القتال.

“If soldiers are punished before they have grown attached to you, they will not prove submissive; and, unless submissive, then will be practically useless. If, when the soldiers have become attached to you, punishments are not enforced, they will still be unless.”

“إذا عاقبت جنودك قبل أن يتعلقوا بك لن يكونوا خنوعين و إن لم يكونوا خنوعين سيكوبوا عديمي الفائدة. وإذا لم تفرض العقوبات حين يتعلقوا الجنود بك سيكونوا أيضاً عديمي الفائدة.



Two people on Facebook

My Facebook Lover


I sat on my balcony sipping my morning coffee. As I looked through my Facebook home page, I found that my heart still searched for her. My love for her follows me every day. I yearn for her every moment.

Ever since I saw her in that world called Facebook, I haven’t been able to forget her. I am not sure why I am so intrigued by her. Perhaps it was her beauty, maybe her grace. But no, there was something more than that. She wrote about love and life with such sincerity and honesty.  Her words, so pure, they reached the depth of my soul. There was something about her features which drew me to her. Was it that mysterious look in her eyes as if saying, “I’ve known you since forever”?

I wonder where she is now.

Her name is Jasmine, a name so fitting. Just like the flower she has soft features and possesses an everlasting elegance. I visit her profile on a daily basis. I passionately go through all her posts and photos every day. I found in her a symbol for tenderness and femininity. The woman of my dreams is beautiful, educated and sensitive. Jasmine was all of those things.

She has many other admirers as well. I’ve wanted to talk to her since the first time I saw her. But I hesitated. Would she even notice me among all her other friends and fans? And if I liked one of her posts, how would she notice mine between the hundred other likes crowding her posts?

I spent hours thinking of ways to capture her attention. A whole month passed by with me just stalking her profile without talking to her at all. Until one late night she posted, “ Is love not a selfishness which haunts us? Why else do we love?” I decided to write her the following comment in response, “If love is selfishness, it is of the legitimate kind.”

She liked my comment! My heart beat wildly with joy. I finally gathered the courage to send her a letter expressing my admiration for her and told her that I had been following her posts for a while now. She wrote back and thanked me for my letter.

I mustered all my courage to ask her, “What’s the matter? Why aren’t you feeling happy today?” She replied, “I’m feeling many contradicting emotions. I am a bit sad, but your asking about me made my day.” “I don’t like to see you feel sad,” I replied. She wrote back, “I sometimes feel that when we love, we love for ourselves and not the other person.” I agreed. “Yes, we do love for ourselves, but this selfishness is what allows us to experience that wonderful feeling called Love.” She replied, “Isn’t that selfish? Or is being selfish legitimate in this case?” To that I answered, “A legitimate selfishness, no doubt. It is our right to live love and enjoy it.” She replied, “I hope you’re right. Only now can I sleep well.”

I don’t think I’ve ever slept as well as I did that night. My thoughts carried me to Jasmine, to her beautiful face and poetic words.  After our first conversation, I started liking her posts and commenting on them. She replied back with even more insightful comments. I later noticed that she started visiting my profile and liking some of my posts, and I was on cloud nine.

Pretty soon, it was Valentine’s Day. I sent her a letter and a bouquet of roses. I wrote, “A red rose from me to you. Happy Valentine’s Day!” In return, she sent me a sweet thank you letter. We started talking more and more. I found out that she was a journalist at a local newspaper. Not only was she beautiful on the outside, but her words revealed her tender-heartedness, her honesty, and her beautiful soul as well. I fell hopelessly in love.

For a week, she disappeared and didn’t post a single thing. My heart beat hard as I wondered what may have happened to her. I missed her terribly.

On Sunday morning her words came back to life, and so did I.  My heart danced a crazy dance of joy; it almost ripped through my rib cage and ran to her. I sent her a letter asking why she had been gone for so long. She responded by saying she had been out of the country on vacation. She didn’t give any more details and I didn’t ask. She said she had a lot of work to do but promised we’d talk that night.

I restlessly waited for her, frantically searched for her in every corner of that big world called Facebook. When she finally showed up, she said one word and left: “Tomorrow.”

She had me from then on. She became the first person I said hello to every morning. She always had a sweeter response to my greetings. I wanted to talk to her all the time, to live every moment with her. If a day passed by without us talking, an agonizing loneliness would take hold of me. On nights we didn’t talk I would suddenly become an insomniac. And if I did manage to sleep, I dreamed of her. Loving Jasmine opened up a world of anticipation and happiness to me. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get her picture out of my head.

I finally told her how I felt about her. She replied, “You love me from a distance without really knowing who I am.” “Let’s meet, so I can discover that you’re an even more beautiful person than I imagined,” I replied. She then said, “I only want you to love me on Facebook, where we can enjoy small moments together.” I replied, “I’d gladly love you on- and offline.”

I received no response.

Days passed and I heard nothing from her. She ignored me. She avoided me. I felt like there was a huge hole in my chest, like a part of me was missing. What happened? Did she not think of me anymore? I know she was never mine, but I do love her, and I do miss her.

A cold breeze blew across my face. My heart shivered. I hesitated before visiting her profile once more. I took a sip of my coffee. It now tasted cold and bitter. I froze. She deleted me from her friends list and locked me out of her world.

Original Arabic text by Hawa Batwash