Kafa al-Zou’bi : The Bag of Wheat

the youngest of our foursome won scholarships to attend college, books started making their way into our house. These books were like guests from a realm far removed from the world of the village, its scorching heat, and its soporific noon hours dominated by the drone of flies that served as still another manifestation of boredom and stagnation. It was a realm alien to people who praised God morning and evening for every tragedy that afflicted them, and who constantly asked forgiveness for sins they were helpless to stop committing. Books of literature, poetry and philosophical inquiry, they were guests from a world where words were laden with meanings we had never encountered before, a world of words that brought cherished hopes of justice, equality, and change for the better.

Salam Sarhan : Calling for an international treaty to ban the...

An international treaty to ban the use of religion in politics would be much more worthwhile. I would argue that it would be more so than even the Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, as it would deal with a bigger threat to peaceful coexistence on this planet. Such a treaty would be a step towards more respect for human rights by liberating millions from religious repression, one of the ma­jor sources of human rights abuses.

Khaled Khalifa: The Refugee – Living in a Void

My sister, whom I haven’t seen for more than two years, told me she was going to cross the sea in a rubber dinghy. She hung up and didn’t want to hear what I thought. She just said something profound and sentimental and entrusted her three children to my care in the event that she drowns. A few minutes later I tried to call the unfamiliar Turkish number but the phone had been turned off

Hussain al-Mozany: Mother, Mother Tongue, and Fatherland

If I think back to my childhood and boyhood, I do not remember anything which demonstrated that my mother was primarily responsible for teaching me the principles of the Arabic language. Over time I have realised that we did not speak much in our house because silence and gesture were the prevalent languages then. My memory offers me only scattered fragments of the tales my grandmother offered ingeniously once she discovered her voice after her husband
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