The Many Lives of a Political Poem: From Hebrew, to Arabic, to Another Life in Hebrew

via the always excellent Arab Literature (in English): BY MLYNXQUALEY on AUGUST 2, 2014 • ( 0 ) Over at The Paris Review, poet and translator Peter Cole writes about the ironic new life that Benjamin Netanyahu has given to Hayim Nahman Bialik’s poem “On the Slaughter”: In the days after the three Israeli teens were murdered, most likely hours after their kidnapping, Netanyahu publicly expressed condolences to the families while quoting from Bialik: “Vengeance … for … Read more The Many Lives of a Political Poem: From Hebrew, to Arabic, to Another Life in Hebrew


The horror of what’s happening in Gaza is there for all to see. Here are the opening lines of Mahmood Darwish’s poem on Gaza: Gaza is far from its relatives and close to its enemies, because whenever Gaza explodes, it becomes an island and it never stops exploding. It scratched the enemy’s face, broke his dreams and stopped his satisfaction with time. Because in Gaza time is something different. … Read more Gaza

Five Years After the Cast Lead Operation: ‘Gaza Writes Back’

Originally posted by Arabic Literature (in English): by mlynxqualey It was five years ago that Cast Lead began. Now a book of short stories, Gaza Writes Back, marks the anniversary. The book’s editor, Refaat Alareer, answers questions about the collection:  ArabLit: How did the idea for this collection come about? How did you put out the call for submissions? Did you tell the writers it was to commemorate Cast Lead? … Read more Five Years After the Cast Lead Operation: ‘Gaza Writes Back’

NSA Surveillance & US Writers

Chilling Effects PUBLISHED by PEN AMERICAN CENTER on November 11, 2013 NSA Surveillance Drives U.S. Writers to Self-Censor In the human rights and free expression communities, it is a widely shared assumption that the explosive growth and proliferating uses of surveillance technologies must be harmful—to intellectual freedom, to creativity, and to social discourse. But how exactly do we know, and how can we demonstrate, that pervasive surveillance is harming … Read more NSA Surveillance & US Writers

The Other 9/11 — Forty Years Already!

Last night we went with old friend Jean Cormier (author of several books & videos on the Che, among many other writings) to Ivry (one of the last communist held suburbs of Paris) to catch a play in remembrance of 11 September 1973, the day the democratically elected government of Chili was overthrown by a CIA initiated coup, in which President Salvador Allende died & General Pinochet came to … Read more The Other 9/11 — Forty Years Already!

Letter on (In)Justice in Tunisia by Hind Meddeb

The Tunisian poet & scholar Abdelwahab Meddeb forwarded me the following letter by his daughter Hind Meddeb, a cinematographer & journalist. It goes to the heart of the matter of how in Tunisia, the country where it started, the Arab Spring is being shunted toward yet another authoritarian police regime. This Monday, June 17, I didn’t show up at the police summons… Yesterday I left Tunisia because I lost … Read more Letter on (In)Justice in Tunisia by Hind Meddeb

al-Ajami “Jasmine Revolution Poem”

Via Arabic Literature (in English): As We Wait on al-Ajami’s Final Appeal, a New Translation of ‘Jasmine Revolution Poem’ Posted on March 9, 2013 by mlynxqualey | Leave a comment A week and a half ago, a Qatari appeals court refused to overturn the sentence against poet Mohammad al-Ajami, instead reducing it from life to 15 years. The country’s Supreme Court is set to make a final ruling within the month. You can still sign a … Read more al-Ajami “Jasmine Revolution Poem”

Qatari Poet’s Sentence Not Overturned, Cut to 15 Years

This just in, via Arab Literature (in English) blog by mlynxqualey  The Qatari appeals court today reduced the sentence of Mohammed al-Ajami, the poet jailed for his work, from life in prison to a long stint of 15 years. According to Al Jazeera, as the news outlet now appears to be covering the case, al-Ajami ”shouted insults at the courtroom and against the government of the Gulf state as he left the Doha court surrounded by … Read more Qatari Poet’s Sentence Not Overturned, Cut to 15 Years

Free Qatari Poet Mohamed Ibn Al Ajami

I signed the French version of this a couple days ago, but will also now sign the English version. Please do the same — there are indeed places in the world where you can get sentenced to life for a poem: World’s Poets Seek to Free Poet Given Life Sentence For Immediate Release, December 18, 2012 Contact: Michael Rothenberg of 100 Thousand Poets for Change David Swanson … Read more Free Qatari Poet Mohamed Ibn Al Ajami