Leila's blog

comrades from DAF join the struggle to defend Kobane comrades from DAF join the struggle to defend Kobane

The heroic resistance of the people of Kobane in fighting the onslaught of the Daesh (ISIS) fascists since mid-September, has led to a surge of international solidarity. A multitude of articles and statements have been written and protests have been held in cities across the world. Kurds have flooded across the Turkish border to help their compatriots in the fight despite being brutally pushed back by Turkish forces, and others including Turkish comrades from DAF (Revolutionary Anarchist Action) have gone to the border to support in keeping it open to help the flood of refugees escaping to Turkey. There have been calls to arm Kurdish forces and calls to support DAF and send aid for refugees.  Yet this solidarity with Syria’s Kurds has not been extended to non-Kurdish groups in the country that have been fighting, and dying, to…

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الرحمة لروحك ..

Arabic Literature (in English)

Shaimaa El-Sabbagh, the activist who was shot dead at a rally in Tahrir Square yesterday, was also a poet:

A letter in my purse

By Shaimaa El-Sabbagh, trans. Maged Zaher
I am not sure
Truly, she was nothing more than just a purse
But when lost, there was a problem
How to face the world without her
Because the streets remember us together
The shops know her more than me
Because she is the one who pays

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the interrogations of shamshouma

The story of the Syrian body as seen by Lebanese eyes is not a new one, it dates back to the time when Syrian workers migrated to Lebanon and became cheap labor, around the country’s largest institutional and urban development in the 1950s.And cheap labor, with time, cheapens the body itself and disciplines it. People then would speak of the Syrian worker as someone coming from dark places of Syria, unknown barbaric villages that manufacturepeople who were completely different from Lebanese. “Not all Syrians are backward”, the story went, “but these people who come to Lebanon and work in construction and other cheap form of labor, come “men wara al ba2ar”, they are dirty, ignorant and stupid”. Somehow labor exploitation disappears onto the Syrian worker’s body, thereby making it as ontologically different and alien, not just for middle and upper class Lebanese but for their fellow Lebanese…

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Beirut Based

APTOPIX Mideast Lebanon Storm

I may not be able to feel my fingers as I type, but I can’t really complain. The storm raging outside the window of my fancy, heated, top-floor office has already claimed two lives, including a 7-year-old Syrian boy.

According to the UNHCR, there are more than 1.15 million registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The Telegraph says that figure is equivalent to “Britain taking in 20 million asylum seekers in less than four years.” Many of those families live in tents not much sturdier than what you’d take camping at the height of summer, and people are literally freezing to death.

If you’d like to donate new or gently used jackets, sweaters, warm socks, winter shoes, hats, mittens or anything else that can fight the chill, there are several places accepting donations. It’s a good excuse to get rid of that sweater you haven’t worn since last year, and a little goes a long way.


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Arabic Literature (in English)

This is the beginnings of a list of the Arabic literary works published in English translation in 2014. Please add what’s slipped my mind below:

Novels (31)

Arch-and-the-Butterfly-Temple Bar, by Bahaa Abdelmeguid, trans. Jonathan Wright (AUC Press)

The Arch and the Butterfly, Mohammed Achaari, trans. Aida Bamia (BQFP) (Review)

The Maze of the Last One: A novel about the last Jewish family in Iraq, by Mohammad al-Ahmed, trans. Christopher Marrs (Dar Safi)

Blue Lorries, Radwa Ashour, trans. Barbara Romaine (BQFP)

The Woman from Tantoura, Radwa Ashour, trans. Kay Heikkinen (AUC Press)

Rain over Baghdad, by Hala El Badry, trans. Farouk Abdel Wahab (AUC Press)

The Corpse Exhibition, Hassan Blasim, trans. Jonathan Wright. (Penguin) (Interview)

Chewing Gum, by Mansour Bushnaf (Darf Publishers)

Who’s Afraid of Meryl Streep?, by Rashid al-Daif, trans. Paula Haydar (University of Texas Press)

june_rainPenguin’s Song, Hassan Daoud, trans…

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