Emil und die detektive cover

Emil and the Detectives Book Summary

Translations, Uncategorized

“Zum erstenmal darf Emil allein nach Berlin fahren. Seine Großmutter und die Kusine Pony Hütchen erwarten ihn am Blumenstand im Bahnhof Friedrichstraße. Aber Emil kommt nicht, auch nicht mit dem nächsten Zug. Während die Großmutter und Pony Hütchen noch überlegen, was sie tun sollen, hat Emil sich schon in eine aufregende Verfolgungsjagd gestürzt. Quer durch die große fremde Stadt, immer hinter dem Dieb her, der ihm im Zug sein ganzes Geld gestohlen hat. Zum Glück bekommt Emil bald Unterstützung: von Gustav mit der Hupe und seinen Jungs.”


“For the first time, Emil is allowed to travel to Berlin on his own. His grandmother and cousin, Pony Hütchen , expect him at the flower stand in the Friedrich Street train station. But Emil doesn’t come, and not on the next train either. While the grandmother and Pony Hütchen were still wondering what to do, Emil was already caught up in a thrilling chase. Across the big, strange city, he follows the thief who stole all his money on the train. Luckily, Emil soon gets help: from Gustav with the horn and his boys.”

“In My Heart Is A Jewish Girl (Pt. 2)”

Literary, Translations, Uncategorized

in my heart 2

Nada replied, “It’s okay… what’s happening around us makes us forget that we worship the same God, even if the details and conditions differ.”

Ahmad drifted for a moment, trying to take in her shocking words. He hadn’t gotten close to any Arab Jews before and didn’t know anything about their way of thinking. His main conception of them was that they secretly hate Muslims. But this girl standing in front of him is saying things unlike what he was accustomed to. Her words made him doubt many things he thought was sure of.

Her voice interrupted his thoughts. She clarified, “Don’t think what I’m saying is strange… I grew up in a family of different religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. There are no boundaries between them.

Excerpt from Dr. Khawla Hamdi’s Novel “In My Heart Is A Jewish Girl” (Pt.1)

Literary, Translations, Uncategorized

Screen shot 2016-03-06 at 2.58.48 PM

Nada stopped and turned to him, giving him her attention.

“Miss… you’re Jewish, right?”

Nada immediately looked down at the Star of David that gave her away from the start and did not respond.

“Then why are you helping us?”

She lifted her eyes, annoyed, and exclaimed, “What does my religion have to do with offering humanitarian help? Doesn’t your religion teach you to show mercy and kindness and give a helping hand to anyone who needs it, regardless of their religion or faith? Isn’t that the message of all Abrahamic religions?”

Ahmad was bewildered and taken aback by her response. He hung his head ashamed. A Jewish girl giving him a lesson in morals!

All he could do was mumble an apology, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.”

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

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