Palestinian-Icelandic Author Mazen Maarouf Wins AlMultaqa Short Story Prize

Articles, Translations, Uncategorized

الفلسطيني مازن معروف يفوز بجائزة (الملتقى) للقصة القصيرة في الكويت

 

من محمود حربي

 

الكويت (رويترز) – فاز الفلسطيني مازن معروف يوم الاثنين بجائزة (الملتقى) للقصة القصيرة العربية في الكويت في دورتها الأولى عن مجموعته (نكات للمسلحين) وقيمتها 20 ألف دولار.

 

وتتضمن المجموعة الفائزة 14 قصة قصيرة تسرد الواقع غير المنطقي من وجهة نظر طفل يعيش حياته اليومية في ظل حرب لا تتصدر موضوع القصص إنما تعتبره واقعا فانتازيا يعيشه الطفل ومن خلاله يقص المؤلف الرؤى الإنسانية والمفارقات والدعابات الساخرة.

 

والمجموعة الصادرة عن دار رياض الريس للكتب والنشر في بيروت هي الأولى للمؤلف الفلسطيني/الأيسلندي الذي ولد في لبنان عام 1978 لعائلة فلسطينية. وحصل معروف على بكالوريوس في الكيمياء من كلية العلوم بالجامعة اللبنانية وعمل لعدة سنوات بتدريس الكيمياء قبل أن يبدأ مشواره الأدبي في 2008 وصدرت له سابقا ثلاث مجموعات شعرية.

 

وقال معروف لرويتز بعد تسلمه الجائزة “لهذه الجائزة رمزية كبيرة لأنها ترد الاعتبار لأدب القصة القصيرة وهي تعزز المشهد الثقافي الفلسطيني وتكرم الكاتب الفلسطيني فأنا مولود في الشتات ولم أزر فلسطين إلا مؤخرا.”

 

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Palestinian Mazen Maarouf Al Multaqa Arabic Short Story Prize in Kuwait

Kuwait (Reuters)- Palestinian Mazen Maarouf won on Monday, 5 December, the Al-Multaqa Arabic Short Story Prize of $20,000 in Kuwait. Maarouf received the first edition of the Prize for his collection “Jokes of the Gunmen”.

The winning collection includes 14 short stories that narrate the senseless reality from the point of view of a child living his everyday life amidst a war that is not the subject of the stories, but is rather seen as a fantasy reality the child lives and through which the author illustrates human visions, paradoxes, and sarcastic jokes.

The collection published by Riad El-Rayyes for Books and Publishing in Beirut is the Palestinian-Icelandic author’s first. Maarouf was born in Lebanon in 1978 to a Palestinian family. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the School of Sciences at the Lebanese University and worked as a chemistry teacher for a few years before starting his journey in literature and writing in 2008. He has three poetry collections published previously.

Upon receiving the Prize, Maarouf told Reuters that “this Prize has a major symbolic meaning as it brings back esteem to the short story, strengthens the Palestinian cultural scene, and honors the Palestinian writer; I was born in the diaspora and did not visit Palestine until recently.”

Read the full Reuters article by Mahmoud Harbi.

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Qomrah 2 logo

Qomrah 2 Call for Ideas: Your Chance to Create the Media You Want to See

Uncategorized, Writing

Yesterday, September 30 2016, was the award ceremony for the first season of Qomrah, Ahmad Alshugairi‘s new Ramadan show, which strives to create meaningful media through a competition of short videos anyone around the world can participate in. Some of the winning videos from season one covered themes such as hope, child refugees and autism. These are just a few of the themes that fit the categories of the first season.

This year, the chance to participate-and with that, the chance to win- is open to an even wider audience. Starting today, October 1st and until the end of this month, anyone with an idea for a video can send the details and if the team likes the idea, it will then be posted on the website for the second phase, where filmmakers can choose from the ideas suggested and be financed by Qomrah to create the video. If your idea wins, you have the chance to win up to 500,000 Saudi riyals.

The idea can be about anything from a work of art, to a social experiment or volunteer work and the categories include health and fitness, history, self-development, philosophy, technology and more.

So what are you waiting for? Think of something you’re passionate about and think it’s important for more people to know about and submit!

For more information: Watch the Qomrah 2 promo video and visit the Qomrah website and you can also watch the videos from season 1.

SEP- Supporting Palestinian Women Refugees With Every Stitch

BarakaBits, Writing

Last year, we told you about the Social Enterprise Project (SEP), which employs skilled Palestinian refugee women at the Gaza refugee camp in Jerash, Jordan as artisans. These artisans make many unique handmade products, including embroidered home and fashion accessories, like shawls, tablecloths, bags, towels and scarves. Now we’re back with some exciting updates about the project! But first, here are just a few reasons why we love SEP:

  • It supports refugee women– The women behind the handmade pieces are all refugees. Working with SEP, they receive above-market rates for their work. SEP empowers less fortunate women through providing them with professional, personal and economic stability.
  • It is eco-sustainable– All the embroidery is handmade and so is most of the assembling; therefore, minimal machinery is used. SEP also manufactures locally and ensures recycling is a part of the production process. This awareness has not gone unnoticed. SEP was awarded the Butterfly Mark which, according to SEP’s website, “is awarded to luxury lifestyle brands that take pride in their craftsmanship, service and design, whilst protecting our planet and its resources”.
  • It revives Palestinian heritage– SEP brings a piece of Palestinian heritage into our homes through its various products. Also, SEP introduces more people to the artisans’ work. It also brings the Palestinian art of embroidery to the world through partnering with influential ambassadors, such as Mary Nazzal-Batayneh, a barrister, human rights activist, and founder of Landmark Hotels,  as well as Chaker Khazaal, who is named Arabian Business Most Influential Young Arab 2016 and Esquire Man of the Year 2015. The Chaker scarf, one of SEP’s products, is endorsed by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd!

We’ll now leave you with a quote from Roberta about what inspired the SEP project.

“When you have been a refugee for 50 years, you stop dreaming, you stop hoping, you stop planning. This was the the reality when we started working in the Jerash refugee camp in Jordan in 2013. And this is why we decided to step in as the private sector and over time, replace the dependence on aid: working with the refugees, accompanying them above the poverty level and enabling them to monetize and celebrate their skills as well as their talent, heritage and culture via a peer-to-peer relationship. We believe that ’aid overdose’ can be counter-productive, as we can see every day in our work.”

For more information: visit SEP’s website, Facebook Page and Instagram.

 

This article was originally published on BarakaBits on July 3rd, 2016.

ridzdesign, 30 faces 30 places lebanon irusa

Ramadan Memories Shared by 30 Faces from 30 Places

BarakaBits, Uncategorized, Writing

The Muslim community is rich with diversity. This diversity in culture and tradition can be seen in the different ways people celebrate the holy month of Ramadan around the world. This Ramadan, Islamic Relief USA delivered food packages to 30 countries. To capture the unique ways Ramadan is celebrated in each of these 30 countries, Islamic Relief worked with photographer Ridwan Adhami. During this Ramadan, Adhami took photos of Muslims in the United States who originate from these 30 countries. Every day of the month, Adhami shared with the world a new photo and memory of Ramadan from a new country.

The countries range in culture and location from Zimbabwe and Albania to South Africa and Somalia. Also among the countries are those in the Middle East and North Africa region:  Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Tunisia and Sudan. Here are some of the photos and memories shared:

30 faces, 30 places tunisia ridzdesign ramadan

Day 4: Ramadan in Tunisia

“We had a revolution, but before that for over 20 years, hijab was against the law, and mosques were closed for the vast majority of the day. So there’s still not a lot of mosque life. I felt it. It’s always been a fine line, people tip-toeing around what’s allowed.”

30 faces, 30 places palestine ridzdesign ramadan

Day 9: Ramadan in Palestine

“The kids go out in groups with the lanterns. And it was safe, you never worried about bombs. It was so peaceful. We would take the lanterns and knock on doors. We would say, ‘wahaweeya wahawee’ and they would open the door and give us candy. Every night in Ramadan I looked forward to it.”

Day 11 entry Ridzdesign Imam Magid

Day 11: Ramadan in Sudan

“There’s a very nice tradition in Sudan where the people in the neighborhood would bring the food every night outside on the street and break fast in the street, and they would not allow anyone passing by to pass without sitting and eating. There would be some people who would stand in the road and insist for people to get off their buses and stop the cars to join the iftar, and they would insist for you to not be driving after sunset.”

30 faces, 30 places Day 13 Ridz design Souheil lebanon

Day 13: Ramadan in Lebanon

“Ramadan has a great flavor…different from any other time of the year.”

30 faces, 30 places syria ridzdesign ramadan

Day 14: Ramadan in Syria

“Every family would send a child before maghrib time to the neighborhood shop to get fresh falafel, hummus, and atayef. The most important thing is the atayef.”

30 faces, 30 places iraq ridzdesign ramadan

Day 21: Ramadan in Iraq

“It’s as if you are going back to live those beautiful memories. Although we share so many traditions and customs, there is something very special for each town, for each city.”

To view more photos and read more memories from the series visit Ridwan Adhami’s Facebook page, Instagram and the Islamic Relief USA website.

 

This article was originally published on BarakaBits on July 7, 2016.

Yaffa cover, nibal qundos

Translated Excerpt from Nibal Qundos’ Novel “Yafa: A Story of Absence and Rain”

Uncategorized

Screen shot 2016-02-20 at 3.36.10 PM

We’re going deeper into Autumn. It seems winter’s coming early this year, fortunately for those of us whom rain brings so much joy; earthly beings that come alive with rain, their hearts fluttering. In thinking of happiness, I think about visiting Yafa on the first rainy day. She might open her door to me in the winter. Maybe she’ll need some company, someone to sit with in front of the fireplace on rainy evening.

Rain makes us more fragile,  more needing to confess.Its droplets tapping on our windows and pouring yearning into our hearts, make us in more need of a friend or a lover to share the craziness of dancing  under the rain with and walking for hours tirelessly. How beautiful it is to reward ourselves with a warm cup of coffee from an old coffee shop that still believes in the necessity of playing Fairouz in the early morning and to watch from behind glass windows the passersby in their winter coats and hats and others seeking shelter beneath their umbrellas. Those umbrellas whose existence I still think is silly.There is nothing more beautiful than the patter of rain drops  on our heads, grown tired by the summer and longing for a warm moment, like someone  wrapping you in their coat, holding your cold hands and breathing some warmth into them.

Join Cycling4Palestine 2016 in Jordan & Palestine this Friday

BarakaBits, Uncategorized, Writing

If you’re in Jordan or Palestine and are looking to get active and at the same time to do good, we have just the right event for you! On Friday April 22, 2016, the Welfare Association for Youth (WAY) will be hosting its 5th Cycling4Palestine event.

The aim of the event is to demonstrate solidarity and raise awareness and funds for WAY’s projects. Each year, the funds raised go to different humanitarian and social projects in Palestine. This year’s theme is “solutions from within”, and all funds raised will go to projects that lead to sustainable development. One of the projects that will be supported by the funds raised in this event will empower women in the agriculture sector in Palestine.

When BarakaBits asked about the message and goal of the event Tamer Atia, President of WAY, said, “We choose to cycle because cycling offers a sustainable viable alternative to all other means of transport. Many communities in Palestine have the potential to utilize cycling as an effective tool of bridging villages and resources, thus enabling us to reach our schools, families, homes and workplaces. Cycling ultimately gives us control over movement.”

Moreover, Darin Zeidan, WAY Program Manager told BarakaBits, “I’m excited to meet everyone and see young people outside Palestine working for the Palestinian cause.”  During our interview with Zeidan, she also expressed her excitement for this year’s event as it will take place in both Palestine and Jordan and emphasized the importance of such events and its role in engaging and reminding the youth of the Palestinian cause.  It is also worth noting that this year Cycling4Palestine is organized by young volunteers.

The program includes cycling followed by lunch and an interactive segment including live performances and a quiz show. Cycling4Palestine is a family-friendly event open to all ages.

Enjoy your springtime by joining this event. Stay active, have fun and as always don’t forget to smile :) !

For more information: visit the event’s page on Facebook and the Welfare Association for Youth website.

 

This article was originally published on BarakaBits on April 16, 2016.