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Subhi Al-Shahrour: “Three Very Palestinian Nights”

As part of the “Culture and Creativity” series, the Palestinian Institute for National Guidance in Ramallah issued a new book titled :Three Very Palestinian Nights” for the writer and critic Subhi Al-Shahrur.

This book is actually a novel/biography for the writer, which he started with a shocking Introduction that reflects the states of sadness that he is engulfed in and an estrangement that accumulates on the hill of his defeats; but his soul is broken with aspirations postponed for the thousandth time, as he says.

In addition to the Introduction, he divided his book/novel into many titled chapters: About the Visits, About the First Night, About the Second Night and Its Fringes, On the Homeland From Afar, On Fear Once Again, Shopping and Supplications, On the Third Night – Its Prerequisites and Aftermath, An Argumentation Even Though It’s Theirs…But I Meant It That Way, A Time for Wandering in Dubious Spaces…

We point to the following reading, titled “On Fear Once Again”:

The Al-Qa’qa’a “alleyway”, stretches long, narrow, and winding like it is, and it’s filled with hills and mounts of piling rotten and about to rot garbage… I…march forward without caution while a hollow evening wind was drumming and whistling.

I passed behind the tabouns (traditional ovens) and straw-stackers onto the space of gardens. The house garden is faced with the rear fronts of the neighbors in the alleyway.

At the middle lies Hajja Rashida’s garden, armed with gigantic cactus heads while inside, it is almost a forest, planted with all sorts of fruits, as becomes evident from the gaps between the cactus bushes… Pomegranate trees in the shadow are extended and curved because they barely see the sun. They can’t even serve as sticks with which to strike bands. On the left is a high dirt terrace for the friends’ door is sloping with dirt balls constantly rolling from and the water rolling in drops… The wind blew so I stumbled and fell on my hands and knees. Suddenly, I heard the hideous agonized laughter, like an injured animal, followed by a long sarcastic laugh.

Dreary wind pushing as if it were blood garlands and large swamps filled with the higher terraces’ water as well as a charcoal night spilling on the alleyway”.

The 136 medium-size pages book/novel is the ninth publication for the Palestinian Institute for National Guidance.

Said Yaqin: “Normalization - Between the Concept and Practice”

A book titled “Normalization – Between the Concept and Practice/ A Case Study / Arab-Israeli normalization” for Said Yaqin was published within the Palestinian Cause series.

About this book, the writer says the following in the introduction: “The importance of this study emerges from its new topic, which was wide-opened in the past ten years (even though its historical roots stretches farther back). For this project (normalization), which remains proposed for the region in Israel and the West, has been the subject of heated debate in the Arab world. From here, the study’s examination of the topic of normalization should contribute (to a degree) to the scientific identification of the project and concept in order to understand it political value as well as its economic, security, and cultural dimensions in the Middle East region (The Arab civilization sphere)”.

The goes on to say: “This study attempts to examine the limits of the concept of normalization in its general context as well as the experiences of its undertaking in countries that went to war with one another and ended with normalizing relations between each other once again in addition to studying the phenomenon (normalization) in its regional context as a special case between a state that originally was not established or in existence and states that were actually established and recognized, i.e. between Israel and the various Arab parties”.
The author divided his book, in addition to the introduction, to six chapters holding the following titles: Theory Features of Normalization, Some Experience of Normalization Between Warring and Competing Countries, The Shifts in Arab Political Thought From Rejection to Recognizing Israel, Recognition is an Israeli Strategy, Normalization in the Political Thought and Arab Cultural Discourse, Normalization as a Thought and Practice in the Arab Context.
We also note the conclusion in which the author states: “The Arab-Israeli normalization comes in light of a set of defeats that afflicted the Arab political system and created a fundamental shift in the Arab and Palestinian political thought in the issue of dealing with Israel. From the absolute rejection of the Israeli existence to the acceptance of this existence, the Arab political system shifted to officially accepting the formula of land for peace after the resonating fall of the official Arab systems following the Gulf War. Despite that, normalization remains in of itself an Israeli-Western project dictated to the Arabs because the Israeli political perspective on peace surpasses the horizons of international law of halting the procedures of war to imposing normalization on Arabs with all that this entails of diplomatic representation, economic relations, and cooperation steps in the various fields of international relations. The book, the Institute’s tenth publication, is composed of 168 large-size pages.

Tariq Al-Karmi in “The Bull’s Path” and the splendor of ugliness

After his poem collection “Morning of the Lonely”, the poet Tareq Al-Karmi pushes through, carried on his seclusion, the seclusion of the “Lonely” to reach the “Bull’s Path” – his second collection. The poet furnishes his verses with care and accuracy that are careful to especially examine the private in order to reach the public and wander in its fields, with its knowledge tools, its questions, and inquiries about the self and the things as well as questioning existence… Al-Karmi presents quarrelsome poetry and trial proposition, all his own making.

(The Notebook, a Coffee Cup, a Pipe, Sharif Playing, My Son, A Girl, A Toy, A Scene, A Portrait, Red, Morning, The Collars, A Chair, A bed, An Eye, The Shoes, and A Bull) are all titles of poems in Al-Karmi’s collection. They pinpoint the intimate and personal in the experience because the poet turns to the simple and ordinary around him and in his life for the house, with its capabilities and indications that are open to the soul in its surging, and eliminating its isolation and alienation through writing and the attempt to divulge things… or perhaps to describe things in a way that exposes its internal storming.
Al-Karmi, as in his first collection, with his ordinary and clear language, penetrates the unusual and unclear and goes into the mist and dissembles the buttons of universal dusk to declare his whiteness and the transparency of his heart…

In his new collection, Al-Karmi sways in favor of prose for he resorts to short prose as it is his habit and the strength of condensation and the beauties of the poetic picture that is engineered with the skill of the artist and the poet’s needle. But what attracts attention in the collection is the poet’s was concerned with showing the “beauties of ugliness”, perhaps, or that is how it seems…for delving into what is not beautiful to discover the beautiful is a new approach that the poet exposes in many of his collection’s poems so he says: that beauty is a fragment of the mirror of the idea of beauty in its universality and scope and the poet simply gathers the fragments to restore to the mirror its beauty’s symmetry and texture… There is something that resembles “Maldoror’s songs” with a taste and characteristic of a different kind… It is the poet’s experience, the bitterness of his day, his pessimism, and his displeasure… In reading some of the collection’s poems, a certain chill overwhelms you, where the thought comes forcefully and does what it wants, which reiterates its truthfulness and ability to reach and penetrate. The poem “Ordinates” can explain the picture’s peculiarity, which could appear as repulsive or unusual… It reads:

    - (What is that silver peeled desire When you intentionally make love in a cemetery).
    - (The she smokes your cigarette… Is it to resemble a male dog)
    - (And between a mutilated girl that cares for your phlegmatic rose).
    - (Is it for dew that the transudation of a woman in bed shines and the blood of lamps hung like skulls)
    - (A turtle makes the sky under the earth to lay a tern (if she lays eggs) as a disabled child’s favorite on the universe’s consoling window).
These poems expose what is unsociable in the picture as well as the picture of the disastrous reality, which is reflected in the poet’s soul as lament, a devilish delight, and an ugly and disastrous inclination to address issues and contemplate the world.

In these panoramic prose, Al-Karmi captures with the heart’s eye all of that to saw with the soul’s needle his own beauty… He was also devoted to the expression as a way to accumulate his determination to be different…. In some poems, intentionally, he transcends the laws of the language in a distinguished attempt that could reach temerity… It is “The Bull’s Path”… deserving of argument.