by atosun

The Maze

August 1, 2019 in Arabic, Fiction by atosun

Original by Ayah Raafat
Translated, from the Arabic, by Essam M. Al-Jassim

Only silence is allowed here. You can cry, shout, and wail, but you do so without uttering a sound.

When I was a little boy, I went with my father to the theme park. He told me to go on the Labyrinth of Fear ride, but I was afraid. I asked him to come with me, but he insisted I go alone. I eventually saw it ‎wasn’t too scary of a maze—only two corridors—but I felt lost inside it. As I made my way through, silent tears rolled down my cheeks. Finally, I found my way and came ‎out, trembling. 

“You’ve become a man now,” my father uttered. “Men don’t cry,” he rebuked in a harsh tone‎.

From that day forward, I knew men never cry. 

The next day after school, my father noticed a bruise on my face. When I told him I didn’t hit the boy back, he was enraged. He beat me and warned never to let someone put their hands on me again. But the boys’ hands didn’t stop reaching my face. My father, in turn, struck me repeatedly. 

I grew up, and when my father died, I never cried or uttered a sound, I remembered him warning me that men don’t cry. I never had a strong personality.  As a child, I was a coward and an anxious young man.     

Eventually, I got married and had a son. When he came home from school one day with the same bruise at the same age I did, I shouted, beat, and reproached him just like my father had done to me. I never wanted my son to be like I was; I wanted him to be as strong and brave as my father had been.

I’ll let no one touch him or make him cry‎, I swore to myself.

“Get dressed. We’re going for a walk,” I told my son and took him to the same theme park my father had taken me to and insisted he go on the Labyrinth of Fear ride alone.

_

Ayah Raafat is an Egyptian novelist and short story writer. She was born in Mansoura, Dakahlia Governorate and is a graduate of Mansoura University. She obtained her medical degree at Mansoura Faculty of Medicine. She started her successful writing career in 2008. Ayah Raafat published a collection of short stories and two novels. Her novel When The Truth Lies has achieved critical acclaim.

 

Essam M. Al-Jassim is a Saudi translator. He taught English for many years at Royal Commission schools in Jubail, Saudi Arabia. He ‎received his bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages and Education from King Faisal University, Hofuf. His translations appear in a variety of print and online literary Arabic and English journals.

by atosun

Breaking News: Mass Grave Found Near… (and two other poems)

March 19, 2019 in Arabic, Poetry by atosun

Originals by Kadham Khanjar, Areej Dawara, and Malik Al-batly
Co-translated, from the Arabic, by authors and David Allen Sullivan

 

Breaking News: Mass Grave Found Near…
Kadhem Khanjar

Yesterday
I went to the Coroner’s Office.
They asked for a DNA sample,
and told me they found some unidentified bones.
Every time I hear that I rotate on the knife of hope, like a stuck orange.
I am home now, brother, dusting the plastic flowers around your photo, wetting them with tears.
The medical report says the sack of bones I signed for are “you.” 

Too little. I empty them on the table. Catalogue them again:
a skull, a clavicle, three ribs, a shattered femur, a pile of metacarpi, and a dice roll of vertebrae.
How can these be a brother?
but the medical report confirms it is.
I put the bones back in the sack,
dust off my hands, blow the remainder from the table, hoist you on my back and leave.
On the bus I place you next to me and pay for two seats. (Yes, I’m paying this time.)
I’m old enough to carry you on my back and pay your fare. 

I do not inform anyone what I’ve received.
I watch your wife and children pass by the couch where I’ve set you down.
I want one of them to open the sack,
to see you one last time,
but you’re stubborn to the bone. 

Later, they wonder about the wet marks on the couch.
For an hour, I had arranged the wet bones in a makeshift coffin, trying to complete you.
Only the shiny nail heads knew that this was too little.

 

Night, Alone Again
Areej Dawara

She’s a child looking for the cave,
the beautiful cave
where they buried the pelican.

She used to suck her toes . . .
but I . . .
I’m no longer her.

*

You, my lover, left without a bag, and I had to
exhume the memory of sky from my hair
so the stares of strangers
wouldn’t spill down my back.

The ground will never lose
the touch of your feet.

You’ve never left here.

*

My grandmother never told us
a story of how war eats children.

She didn’t. I don’t believe
for a second in the boogie man.

I don’t. My eyes grow wheat-
patterned wallpaper. It’s what
I stared at. The ground

will never lose the touch of my feet.

I’ve never left this country.

*

The trees, fallen, cut into lengths,
but never to be split, are set on fire
in front of an amputated wooden leg.

I make myself stare into your eyes
so I don’t shake when September’s burned
in front of our immigrant houses.

*

Your jacket’s my only tent,
your hands are the poles.

I plant them in my body,
stabbing one end in the sand
the other in my veins
to stop my shaking.

There.

It’s done.

But how can this Syrian war
lick the forehead of every other man
without ever touching yours?

*

I’m like the night’s panic hours,
afraid to remember the light.

I fight not to sleep, afraid
he’ll enter through my dreams.

*

The war’s thin.
Your fingers run under my skin
like needles.

Chopped flesh
is no longer soft,
just an ugly white mass.

How helpless I am
to straighten a bent cloud.

I’m skinny
as a metal bedrail.

My fingers are stuck to the rust
coloring its upper parts.

You held love for only a moment.

You never let go.

*

The sand’s stuffed with blood
like a song stuck in my throat.

Your smile
knocks down doors
which fear the traveling wind.

The doors are aged
like second hand crutches,
like bitter candy
after it’s lost its color,
like the hand that lets go of
the small animal it caught
so it won’t drown it.

*

Your face is a still and stagnant sea
which won’t kneel before the sky.

Put down your eyes calmly
like a strangled cigarette.

*

You are leaving without a bag.

My features have became mere words.

The mirage of meandering streets,
the chewing of bread in many mouths,
the sleeping cats that will never
be swollen with kittens—
no one and nothing is sheltered here.

I’ll let my child die inside me
so no one will be able to kill it.

 

Oh Al-Taf…
Malik Al-batly

Al-Taf faltered,
the light died,

its dead shadows
were encased in sand.

Until then I hadn’t known
light could be slaughtered.

Oh Al-Taf!

Do you remember our tent,
the ridgepole snapped like a spar?

Do you remember the eyes of the people,
all painted red?

But they still held their heads high,
no one could approach their high rank.

Oh Al-Taf…

like a nymph
from paradise
you made us ask painful questions,
you said the last text
was thirst
for earth.

Oh Al-Taf,
injured dove being slain,
jerking its neck from the pain.

Blood smiled in the hand of a great man from Hashim’s family—
bloodline a gift from Allah—for Allah.

The tears of the sky will never dry,
oh Al-Taf.

The last poem came out as a cry.
It tried to hug itself to verses
but it had no words.

The last river tried to enter
and hug another river
but it had no arms.

I had never seen two rivers
burn together.

I’d never heard a poem
wail for a verse without words.

I remember the stories from long ago:
whenever one of the children
fell in battle

Al-Montathar fell
in front of Zainab’s tent.  

 

عاجل : العثور على مقبرة جماعية بالقرب …”

البارحة ذهبت إلى الطب العدلي. طلبوا بصمة مطابقة للحمض النووي. قالوا أنهم عثروا على بعض العظام مجهولة الهوية. وفي كل مرةٍ أدور مثل برتقالة على سكينة الأمل.

الآن أنا في المنزل يا أخي، أمسح الغبار عن الزهور الاصطناعية التي تحيط صورتك، وأسقيها بالدموع.

* * *

يقول التقرير الطبي بأن كيس العظام الذي وقّعتُ على استلامه اليوم هوأنت“. ولكن هذا قليل. نثرتُهُ على الطاولة أمامهم. أعدنا الحساب: جمجمة بستة ثقوب، عظم ترقوة واحد، ثلاث أضلاع زائدة، فخذٌ مهشّمة، كومة أرساغ، وبعض الفقرات.

هل يمكن لهذا القليل أن يكون أخاً؟

يشير التقرير الطبي إلى ذلك. أعدتُ العظام إلى الكيس. نفضتُ كفيَّ من التراب العالق فيهما، ثم نفختُ بالتراب الباقي على الطاولة، وضعتكَ على ظهري، وخرجت.

* * *

في الباص أجلستُ الكيس إلى جانبي. دفعت أُجرة لمقعدين (هذه المرة أنا الذي يدفع). اليوم كبرتُ بما فيه الكفاية كي أحملكَ على ظهري وأدفع عنك الأجرة.

* * *

لم أُخبر أحداً بأني استلمت هذا القليل. أُراقب زوجتك وأطفالك يمروّن بالقرب من الكنبة التي تركتكَ عليها. أردتُ أن يفتح الكيس أحدهم. وددت أن يروكَ للمرة الأخيرة. لكنك كنت عنيدا حدّ العظم. فيما بعد تساءلوا عن بقعة الدمع التي على الكنبة…!

* * *

منذ ساعة وأنا أرتّب هذه العظام الرطبة في بطن التابوت، محاولا اكمالك. وحدها تدري المسامير التي على الجانبين بأن هذا قليل.

 

اللبل مرة أخرى

هنا يوء د البجع

الطفلة التي كانت تمص أصابع قدميها

لم تعد تشبهني

لإنك ستمضي بلا حقيبة

نبشت سماء الحنين من شعري

حتى لاتسيل النجوم على ظهري

لن تفقد فوق هذه الأرض قدميك

لم ترحل من هنا

……

لم تقرا جدتي لنا حكاية الحرب التي تأكل الأطفال

مادمنا لم نصدق يوما

أن الغول سيظهر على الغطاء

مادامت عيناك تزرع القمح ليلا على الجدار

لن تفقد فوق هذه الأرض قدميك

لما ترحل من هنا

……

الأشجار التي لم تقطع بعد

تحترق أمام ساق مبتورة

كان علي أن أنظر في عينيك

حتى لا أرتجف حين يحترق أيلول أمام بيوتنا المهاجرة

…..

معطفك  خيمتي الوحيدة

يداك أوتاد أغرسها في جسدي

بالرمل في عروقي

حتى لاأرتجف..

هناك ..

حيث الحرب تلعق جبين كل رجل

دون أن تطال جبينك

…………….

الليل ساعات فزعة

تغلق عينيها بشدة

حتى لاتذكر الضوء فتبكي

………..

أسحب الخنجر من أحشائي بصمت

دون أن أمسح الوهم النازف من بطني

حتى لاألمس جسدي بحنان مجددا

أوأستعير خبال يدك

………….

الحرب نحيلة

اصابعك تسري في جسدي كإبرة

اللحم المتقطع لم يعد أملسا

هو كتل بيضاء قبيحة

كم بدت عاجزا عن مسد غيمة

أنا نحيلة

كسرير حديدي صدأ

التصقت على أجزائه العلوية بقايا أصابع

أمسكت بلحظة حب ولم تفلتها

……………………..زز

الرمل يغص بالدماء

كتلك الأغنية العالقة في حلقي

وحدها ابتسامتك

تصرع الأبواب الخائفة من سفر الريح

رغم أنها كبرت كخشب العكاز

كمرار الحلوى التي لم تعد ملونة

كاليد التي أفلتت ذلك الشيء الطافي الصغير

حتى لاتغرقه

………………….

وجهك هذا البحر الراكد الذي لن ينصاع للسماء

أطفئ عينيك بهدوء

كما أفعل حين أخنق سجائري

………………..

لأنك ستمضي بلا حقيبة

ولإن ملامحي باتت مجرد كلمات

الشوارع وهمية

الخبز المتعجن

القطط النائمة لن تلد صغارها

لاملاذ لها هنا

سأدع طفلي يموت في بطني

حتى لايقتل.

…………………………………………..

 

نعم .. سأرسلها لك للغة أيضا

لقَد عثرَ الطَفُّ وذُبحَ الضوءُ

وماتتْ الظِلال

في حضنِ الرِمال !

وإلى الآنَ لم أَكن أعرف أنَّ الضوءَ يُذبح!

آهٍ

أيُّها الطفُّ

لقد إنكسرَ غصنُ الخَيمة وباتت عيونُ القطيعِ ناراً

وما زالت إلى الآن شامخة ولم يَهتك سترُها أحدٌ!!

آهٍ أيّها الطفُّ

مثلَ حوريةٍ سقطت من شجرةِ الفِردوس

وفتحت جرحَ السؤال بينَ حوافرِ الخَيلِ

وهي تَتلو آخرَ آياتِ العَطشِ

على وجهِ التُراب !

آهٍ أيُّها الطفُّ

هُنا نُحِرَ جناحُ حمامةٍ مكلوم

يرفرفُ وسط حرارةِ الآخ

ودمه المبستمُ بكف عامودِ آلِ هاشِمٍ قربانٌ لوجهِ السَماء

وإلى الآنَ لم ترشحْ دموعُ السَماء!

آهٍ أيُّها الطفُّ

وهناكَ تنوحُ آخرُ قصيدةٍ

تعانقُ الشعرَ بلا كلِمات

وآخرُ نهرٍ يُعانقُ نهراً بلا ذِراعين

وإلى الآنَ

لم أرَ نهراً بقربِ نهرٍ يَحترق !

ولم أرَ قصيدةً تخرجُ عن النصِ وتعانقُ أَبياتَها وهي بلا أَكفٍ..

والى الانَ..

الى الانَ

كلّما وقعَ طفلٌ في ارضِ المَعركة يتعثرُ المنتظرُ في خيمةِ زَينب.

مالك البطلي | شاعر وكاتب عراقي

 

Kadhem Khanjar is a modern poet from Iraq. He is part of a ten poet collective from Babil province who recently recited their poetry in a field full of unexploded mines.  This collective of poets from the center of Iraq, have conducted a series of performances based on the theme of the violence that is destroying their homeland. During these performances, they literally flirt with death. 

Areej Dawara is a filmmaker, novelist, and poet from Damascus, Syria. She recently received her Diploma in Cinema. Al-lail marra okhra, her Arabic poetry collection, was published in 2016, and she has published novels and short stories as well. She has written: “As a poet, I put my faith in words, so that they can touch souls and bridge the distances between us.”  

Malik Al-Batly is an Iraqi poet and writer from Basra province. He’s written short stories and news articles as well as poems, and has been published in Arab and Turkish newspapers. He studied painting at the College of Fine Arts, but now devotes his attention solely to writing.  

David Allen Sullivan’s books include: Strong-Armed Angels, Every Seed of the Pomegranate, a book of co-translation with Abbas Kadhim from the Arabic of Iraqi Adnan Al-Sayegh, Bombs Have Not Breakfasted Yet, and Black Ice. He won the Mary Ballard Chapbook poetry prize for Take Wing, and his book of poems about the year he spent as a Fulbright lecturer in China, Seed Shell Ash, is forthcoming from Salmon Press. He teaches at Cabrillo College, where he edits the Porter Gulch Review with his students, and lives in Santa Cruz with his family. His poetry website is: https://dasulliv1.wixsite.com/website-1, a modern Chinese co-translation project is at: https://dasulliv1.wixsite.com/website-trans, and he’s searching for a publisher for an anthology of poetry about the paintings of Bosch and Bruegel he edited with his art historian mother who died recently. 

by atosun

My Three Flowers Are Thirsty (and two other poems)

March 19, 2019 in Arabic, Poetry by atosun

Original by Sara Shagufta
Translated, from the Urdu, by Arshi Yaseen

 

My Three Flowers are Thirsty

Falling of the mother’s tears to the ground
Is mere a thing of fun for the folks around
I’ve only seven days left to meet the death
The farewell shouldn’t be something like that!
The motherly hand is going to rest,
The tales would be weaved by my clothing’s thread
Thou don’t wail, as so much depressed is my blood
Thou don’t need to shower petals over my gravestone
As, the departed eyes would continue to live somewhere around

Maniac I wasn’t but they’re
Who stepped into my blood
I wish I could gift thee, wrapping my eyes
The eyes, which have been the most spendthrift
……………..
I had shared out a plenty of smiles
That my lips were bereaved of their own

Somebody shares food on my soul’s behalf
And himself starves
Someone carries my bier on the shoulders
And then goes past

Three flowers of my garland are left thirsty
Before then I get soften into the mud
Please do justice with me ___
Pardon me for my wrong ways,
I’m like a rope wavering in the well
That could burn to ashes
But couldn’t quench its thirstiness
On thy palms, I wish to put my eyes
And to many, I don’t even want to say goodbye

The Bridewell

Our half a torso is virtue and the other half is evil
And that’s the true human who honestly owns the whole

A supreme man-eater is a word
Subject thou to the bridewell

My arguments were a thing of fun for the folks
But I pleased much my dummy pretences
I continued to pilfer fortunes from the life’s selvedge
I never spent and distributed the whole coinage
I had been filling my flagons for the price
And my thirst costed me very high-priced

Someone told!
“Who born out of your wombs,
Because of your forbearance they had died:”
And the generous maid had to be exiled

Since the ocean begin to flow nearby
The children of my neighbourhood don’t go far away
Their mothers say
The ball is more expensive than the play
The tellers tell
Your mother is coughing
And costs four-annas even the empty bottle of the medicine
Either I’m the cause of her torment
Or the grave placed at somewhere land

The birth of a serpent-stone is a celebration too
But I have become more venomous than that
I cannot dance around my bead like heart

The peacock is crying for his feet
I’m crying for my humans
Whose fields’ wages are fixed up to the starvation

One more nail is driven into, when the shoes are damaged
So a new journey may be invented

Someone’s imaginary art-pieces will be paid off
And somebody might not even come up to perfection

Before the sunrise,
Instantly, the name of neighbourhood is changed
And the baby’s age is engraved on the gravestone

I was too used to think like the wooden-bars
I’d congratulate the departing one
And say good-bye to the coming one
Sculpt the bars so that we may create a new meaning of this imprison

 

O’ My Magnanimous God

The complainers always
Embraced me half-heartedly

While a human has two births
Then what is the purpose of this
Prolonged evening-interlude?

Living under my own watch
Made me dwindling
When the dogs sighted the Moon
They forgot to keep their clothing

Remained firm, even when I was severely hurt
But too repressed now under thy command
Hunting me, the solitude
O’ my magnanimous God
I kept praying to you even in the autumn season
But thou sentence the killer to keep slaying the killed one

I couldn’t bring home the unseen wild creeper
Then I engraved on my eyes’ jute-floor
I always would depart my body through the eyes
Then would return to life by the treads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sara Shagufta (1954-1984) was a Pakistani poet who wrote in Punjabi and Urdu.

Arshi Yaseen is a graduate in English Literature from Lahore, Pakistan. She loves to translate Urdu poetry into English. Her translations have appeared in Columbia Journal.

by

Book Review: Is the Gate Worth the Wait?

May 16, 2017 in Arabic, Book Review, English by

When it comes to revolutions and political uprising, the intention is that the result of the revolution will be better; that the resistance should change the status quo and validate the sacrifices that made the revolution possible. The multiple revolutions of the Arab Spring in the early 2010s did not entirely resolve as expected, as some of these nations are left questioning whether the resistance and sacrifices were worth it in the first place. Of the countries politically activated during the Arab Spring, Egypt is unique in that the Egyptian’s initial revolution intended to uproot and remove dictator Hosni Mubarak from office which allowed them to vote democratically. Mohammad Morsi—who represented the controversial party named the Muslim Brotherhood—was democratically elected only to be removed through a the second revolution that eventually returned Egypt to a Mubarak-esque status quo with Sisi. During the first revolution, the Egyptian people united regardless of religion or political party; it was not until a few years into Morsi’s term when a percentage of the Egyptian people, however, began to criticize his policies and the influence of his party. Specifically, some deemed the conservative politics of the Muslim Brotherhood to be too influential on the president’s decisions. Egyptians took to the streets after about two years of Morsi’s term, which resulted in the military ousting their democratically-elected president. Military forces cracked down and killed nearly a thousand Muslim Brotherhood protesters at pro-Morsi protests, making it clear that the political climate was one of uncertainty as the provisional government tortured and persecuted those critical of the military regime with an eerie resemblance, to say the least, to Mubarak’s regime.

Current day Egypt is a country of censorship as no citizen dares to criticize the government, and people do not have the full access to resources, like electricity and gas, to survive. They also do not, as they cannot, trust what is presented on the news. But Egyptians do not talk about it. It could be out of fear, it could be the normalization of the political climate, or it could be that the Egyptian people are exhausted. The military’s coup-d’etat has left the country in a time of uncertainty, surveillance, and a plummeting economy. Some say that the current state of Egypt is worse than it had been before the revolutions.

This uncertainty, dysfunctionality, and lack of trust in authority is the overwhelming sense of modern day Egyptian society, which has inspired the author of The Queue, Basma Abdel-Aziz, to write about the current atmosphere of Egypt, and especially the dystopian similarity to other countries in the Middle East that were politically active during the Arab Spring. This is the reason why Abdel-Aziz creates a nameless city in a nameless country: for it to be a common ground for all nations of the Arab Spring. The use of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), the form of Arabic that formal Arabic literature and media employs, to write the novel—instead of the use of colloquial Egyptian Arabic, validates the neutralization of this being a narrative of all Arab countries involved in the Arab Spring.

Translated by Elisabeth Jaquette, who lived in Egypt through both political upheavals, into English, The Queue is described as a political dystopian novel with “Kafkaesque surrealism.”  A New York Times article by Alexandra Alter mentions how several Arab writers take to this genre, deserting the usual genres of realism in Arabic literary canon. Due to the unusualness of the atmosphere of Egypt after both political upheavals, this genre’s surrealism, per the use of speculative fiction, can be used to make sense of the ineffable post-revolution realities of these countries politically active during the Arab Spring.

Abdel Aziz uses code words to disguise and distance the specific events in relation to Egyptian political events, like “the First Storm” in reference to the ousting of Mubarak and the second ousting as “the Disgraceful Events.” As a reader, I understand that Abdel-Aziz’s intention to generalize setting and nationalities in the novel and of the characters to leave the novel open to interpretation and relation to the several countries who experiences political uproar during the Arab Spring. But in the end, I saw every event inextricably tied to Egyptian culture and politics. The challenge, however, is in recognizing that Egypt’s political history is one that is unique and individual, particularly because they removed two presidents while only a few of the other Arab Spring countries could oust just one.

The central character of Basma Abdel-Aziz’s The Queue is Yehya Gad el-Rab Saeed, a man who was shot by government forces during The Disgraceful Events, and due to the denial of such events carried out by the government, they have established laws specifically pertaining to the removal of bullets. Authorities from The Gate confiscate the x-rays and mandates it to be illegal to surgically remove bullets without a permit from The Gate. When Yehya returns to Zephyr Hospital, the nurses and Dr. Tarek deny ever admitting Yehya on that night and deny his situation—though they all know it to be true. The people in the queue in front of The Gate have no knowledge of when it will open. They stand there—each with a legitimate need of authorization. Soon enough, they seem to forget why they are there in the first place. There are many obstacles between them and the authorization they came for.

The mindful symbolism of the novel includes the bullet in Yehya; Violet Telecom, the cellular network company giving people free phones that records conversations; Amani and what happens to her; and the relationship between the High Sheikh and The Gate. The bullet symbolizes the disregarded and denied pain of not only the Egyptian people but also Egyptian society as a whole. Violet Telecom symbolizes the larger significance of technology and the detrimental effects that it has in terms of politics, authority, and connectivity of society. Amani symbolizes all those who question the authority and are harmed by the authority—mentally and physically. The High Sheikh clearly represents the Muslim Brotherhood and religious authority more broadly, which promotes and endorses the Gate—the major authority.

The major themes that run through the novel are fear and distrust, as well as uncertainty not only in authority but also among the community. There is much significance in the role of technology and censorship. There is also a sense of distrust of religious power, and a theme of existentialism. These are influences of George Orwell and Franz Kafka—authors who found political surrealism to best explain and describe political uneasiness and uncertainty.

The Queue, written in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) instead of being scripted in colloquial Egyptian Arabic dialect, contributes to the idea that the novel is intended for all Arabs of countries active during the Arab Spring to relate to. The translation by Elisabeth Jaquette might be compared to Kwame Anthony Appiah’s notion of a “thick translation” which should reflect a learning experience of culture while being true to the original meaning of the text. Jaquette occasionally goes so far as to leave words in the original Arabic—a method not unlike that employed by Jerome Rothenberg and John Felstiner in their translations of Paul Celan’s “Todesfuge.” The words Jaquette leaves in their original are colloquial words, a choice that effectively transmits a lot of the culture and originality of the text. The novel, in Arabic—as written by Abdel-Aziz—does not have much description, but rather has a focus on narration which is what Jaquette preserves in the translation. Initially, this makes it harder to ease into the novel and forget that I am reading a book, but after reflection this made me realize that maybe this is the intended effect of the novel. We’re supposed to be like Tarek, a part of the omniscient authority that knows everything and causes us as reader to question their position in the novel. With this in mind, the translation, like the writing style, is quite effective. The political surrealism and defamiliarization of the novel is certainly portrayed in the translation, which makes it more or less a successful translation. The Queue suggests an uncanny unusualness, the uncertainty, and the dystopian nature of post-revolution countries. The use of speculative fiction by Arab authors like Basma Abdel Aziz makes readers question whether it was worth going through the revolution in the first place.


Aia Hawari is a Muslim American writer, poet, and community servant-leader from Southern California finishing up her Literature/Writing B.A. at UC San Diego. Her work has been published in Huffington Post, UC San Diego’s Common Ground, and UC Berkeley’s Threads (formerly known as Al-Bayan Magazine). Since Muslim women are often a hot topic that everyone and their mother has an opinion about, Aia recognizes that her voice and narrative has the power to dispel misconceptions and misrepresentations about her faith and what it means to be a visible Muslim woman. Currently, Aia is working with Alchemy, an academic journal of translation at UC San Diego as the Assistant Editor.