Friday, 24 September 2010

Tous ces visages

Tous  ces visages
Qui passent et repassent
Et dont l’image bien vite s’efface

Tous ces moments
Qu’on a cru posséder
Et qui pourtant finissent par nous échapper

Tous ces souvenirs
Que l’on pensait chérir
Pour plus tard découvrir
Qu’ils ont eu tôt de s’enfuir
Tous ces visages
Qui rient, sourient et pleurent
Puis avec l’âge nous sortent du cœur

Toutes ces voix
Que l’on a écoutées
Comme si l’on croit
Que c’est pour l’éternité
Toutes ces années
Qui ce sont écoulées
Sans cage pour les garder
Sans bride pour les attacher

Seul ce temps
Maitre de l’univers
Agent de Satan
Méchant et pervers

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Forgive a girl for lusting after worldly things but this Chanel iPad case got my racing.

Beirut 39, a reader's thoughts.

I was excited when Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation announced the release of their first publications. The one to catch my eye (and quite a few media reviews) was “Beirut 39” a collection of short stories from around the Arab World. This is the work of the 39 Arab writers aged 39 or less who were chosen from more than 480 entrants by the Beirut39 panel of judges last October. The panel was chaired by Egyptian critic Gaber Asfour, Omani poet Saif al-Rahbi,  Lebanese poet and critic Abdo Wazen, and Lebanese novelist Alawiya Sobh.

The exciting part for me was that I finally get to read content “from” my region and not just “about” it. Like many Lebanese who were educated abroad or in foreign language schools, I’ve mainly been consuming French and English literature my entire life, so I miss having content from my own culture.

Although I haven’t read the full collection yet, thought I’d share my initial thoughts:
- I loved the intro by Hanan Al Shaykh, one of my favorite writers. As she says these stories “have flung open the doors on Arab culture, inviting the reader to transcend cultural boundaries and land in a region known as the ‘Arab World"
- The short stories are just that, short and sweet, well written, well translated and insightful.
As I said I haven’t read all of them yet, but a few familiar themes have come up already: violence/war and terrorism, sexual repression, female repression.
- Yet, what I’m missing is the light hearted aspect of our life: the joking, socializing, togetherness that make up our society and which I think we fail to communicate in our literature. It seems every time I read anything from or about the Arab world, it centers on how dysfunctional and war ravaged we are, or how religion is a source of repression. I want to read something FUN!

Click here to read a review of Beirut 39 by the Guardian.
Click here if you want to know more about Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation.