Israel cracks down on Arabic Harry Potter 1 hour, 51 minutes ago JERUSALEM (AFP) - Harry Potter and Pinocchio are apparently not welcome in Israel, at least in their Arabic translations imported from Syria and Lebanon. Arab-Israeli publisher Salah Abassi told Israeli public radio on Monday that authorities ordered him to stop importing Arabic-language children's books from the two longtime foes of Israel. The ban includes translations of such books as Pinocchio and Harry Potter as well as Arabic classics. "The trade and industry ministry and treasury warned me that importing those books is illegal," said Abassi, who imported the books through Jordan. The ban is based on a decree from 1939 -- when the area was under British mandate -- prohibiting the importation of books from countries that are at war with Israel. Abassi told the Maariv daily most of the books can be found only in Lebanon and Syria. "If they were printed in Jordan or Egypt, which are friendly to Israel, I would lose no time in buying them there. Now the significance is that the Arabic reading public in Israel will not be able to enjoy the best literature," he said.Hmmm, if this ban is based on a law dating back from mandate Palestine, how can it have anything to do with Israel? Surely Israel does not recognize the laws in place before its creation? AFP should clarify this point.
Links from my del.icio.us account for August 10th through August 11th:
- Daily News Egypt - NAZIF POSTS COMMENT ON LEFTIST BLOG - Egypt PM confirms leaving comments on critical blog
- Daily News Egypt - TMG SHARES DROP AMID RUMORS THAT CHAIRMAN FLED THE COUNTRY - Tycoon implicated in murder of Lebanese pop tarts, sends stocks plummeting
- FT.com / World - Drivers hope to bypass Cairo roads scheme - Crazy new traffic law angers Egyptian drivers
- The Food Chain - Darfur Withers as Sudan Sells Food - Series - NYTimes.com - Good story on how Sudan's agrobusiness boom is linked to conflict
- Le Calame - Actualités - French-language Mauritanian paper has analysis of post-coup
- The Associated Press: Uproar over loud prayer calls in Muslim Morocco - Volume of azzan subject of debate (IMHO, even worse than loudness: distortion)
- The Associated Press: Text of call to prayer in Morocco's mosques - Morocco has standardized its call to prayer
"My Mother" I long for my mother's bread My mother's coffee Her touch Childhood memories grow up in me Day after day I must be worth my life At the hour of my death Worth the tears of my mother. And if I come back one day Take me as a veil to your eyelashes Cover my bones with the grass Blessed by your footsteps Bind us together With a lock of your hair With a thread that trails from the back of your dress I might become immortal Become a God If I touch the depths of your heart. If I come back Use me as wood to feed your fire As the clothesline on the roof of your house Without your blessing I am too weak to stand. I am old Give me back the star maps of childhood So that I Along with the swallows Can chart the path Back to your waiting nest. (Mahmoud Darwish, translation found on http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Cafe/1324/darwish.htm)Mahmoud Darwish died on Saturday. Many obits refer to him as something like "Palestine's national poet" or "the poet of the Palestinian cause" which in a way is true but which makes this extraordinarily talented poet sound like something smaller than he was. He wasn't just the voice of a particular state or people; he wasn't a propagandist. What I found outstanding about his work is how--deeply and constantly concerned as he is with the problems of Palestinians--he manages to never be ideological, to always be free within his writing, open-eyed and even funny, a true artist. And therefore universal and all the more powerful when he does talk of the suffering and injustice of Palestinians. I still remember the shock of delight when I first read "Memory for Forgetfulness" ("what a book!"), of which an excellent English translation is available. Al Jazeera English has a nice segment on Darwish. I also recommend his official site, which has a great selection of audio recordings (unfortunately seemingly without the transcripts to go with) of the poet reciting his work. And I'm posting more English translations of some of his poems after the jump.
"Identity Card is one of the first poems that made Darwish famous across the Arab world.
Identity Card Record ! I am an Arab And my identity card is number fifty thousand I have eight children And the nineth is coming after a summer Will you be angry? Record ! I am an Arab Employed with fellow workers at a quarry I have eight children I get them bread Garments and books from the rocks... I do not supplicate charity at your doors Nor do I belittle myself at the footsteps of your chamber So will you be angry? Record ! I am an Arab I have a name without a title Patient in a country Where people are enraged My roots Were entrenched before the birth of time And before the opening of the eras Before the pines, and the olive trees And before the grass grew. My father.. descends from the family of the plow Not from a privileged class And my grandfather..was a farmer Neither well-bred, nor well-born! Teaches me the pride of the sun Before teaching me how to read And my house is like a watchman's hut Made of branches and cane Are you satisfied with my status? I have a name without a title ! Record ! I am an Arab You have stolen the orchards of my ancestors And the land which I cultivated Along with my children And you left nothing for us Except for these rocks.. So will the State take them As it has been said?! Therefore ! Record on the top of the first page: I do not hate people Nor do I encroach But if I become hungry The usurper's flesh will be my food Beware.. Beware.. Of my hunger And my anger ! The Pigeons Fly The pigeons fly, the pigeons come down... Prepare a place for me to rest. I love you unto weariness, your morning is fruit for songs and this evening is precious gold the shadows are strong as marble. When I see myself, it is hanging upon a neck that embraces only the clouds, you are the air that undresses in front of me like tears of the grape, you are the beginning of the family of waves held by the shore. I love you, you are the beginning of my soul, and you are the end... the pigeons fly the pigeons come down... I am for my lover I am. And my lover is for his wandering star Sleep my love on you my hair braids, peace be with you... the pigeons fly the pigeons come down... Oh, my love, where are you taking me away from my parents, from my trees, small bed and from my weariness, from my visions, from my light, from my memories and pleasant evenings, from my dress and my shyness, where are you taking me my love, where? You take me, set me on fire, and then leave me in the vain path of the air that is a sin ... that is a sin... the pigeons fly the pigeons come down... My love, I fear the silence of your hands. Scratch my blood so the horse can sleep. My love, female birds fly to you take me as a wife and breathe. My love I will stay and breasts will grow for you The guards take me out of your way my love, I will cry upon you, upon you, upon you. because you are die surface of my sky. My body is the land, the place for you... the pigeons fly the pigeons come down...
- Orwell diaries - 70 years later, blog posts George Orwell's diary one day at a time - includes his convalescence in Morocco!
- Mahmoud Darwish - Official website of the late poet
- Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish dead at 67 - One of the greatest contemporary Arab poets passes away
- Bears chill out as Cairo zoo reforms | Reuters - On efforts to make Cairo Zoo more humane
- Arab students visit Israeli embassy in Washington - Israel News, Ynetnews - Why are Arab students on a US-sponsored program taken to visit the Israeli embassy?
Links from my del.icio.us account for August 8th through August 9th:
- The Mysterious Downfall of Assef Shawkat (August 2008) - Mideast Monitor on how Shawkat has been retired and Bushra exiled
- The Middle East and America's election | Who would be best for the Arabs? | Economist.com - Majority skeptical of either candidate, even if Obama charms some
- FT.com / World - Arrests in Syria follow murder of general - Intrigue among the Syrian oligarchy
- Family’s Donations to McCain Raise Questions - NYTimes.com - Bizarre Arab-American donations to John McCain
- WRONG. . .WRONG. . .WRONG: Obama Lets Muslim Advisor Resign - The Washington Note - Very good, strong Clemons post about Obama's spinelessness of Arab-Muslim issues
Links from my del.icio.us account for July 27th through August 6th:
- Mauritania army stages coup; junta takes charge - Yahoo! News - A new coup!
- Inside the Pakistan-Taliban Relationship: Six Questions for Ahmed Rashid, Author of Descent Into Chaos—By Scott Horton (Harper's Magazine) - Great stuff on India-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Taliban rivalries
- The Daily Star - Editorial - The US is colluding in the trampling of democracy in Egypt - "Disappointed" doesn't cut it for the Daily Star
- YouTube - Egypt's Facebook Face Off - Egypt - Completely over-the-top reporting on Egypt, but has some good stuff
- "This Time, It's Different: Global Pressures Have Converged to Forge a New Oil Reality" By Steven Mufson - Long story on rising third world demand and dwindling supply of oil