Dying to Reach Europe: The African Immigrant Crisis

By Aisha K. Nasser
African Titanics
By Abu Bakr Khaal
Translated by Charis Bredin
Darf Publishers Ltd, 2014.
(First published in Arabic by Dar al Saqi, London, 2008.)
Media accounts normalize the tally of illegal African immigrants drowning while crossing the Mediterranean. Eritrean novelist Abu Bakr Khaal disrupts this false sense of normality by giving voices to these immigrants.

Sin, Redemption, and Visions of Female Illness in Modern Arab Literature

By Bobby Gulshan

Hamdar’s examination of the female body in illness and suffering presents a compelling contribution to the body of literary criticism of Arabic Literature. She invokes strains of critical thought—like Foucault and the idea of discourse—using them to map the development of the image of the female body in recent Arabic literature. 

The Female Suffering Body, Illness and Disability in Modern Arabic Literature
By Abir Hamdar

From Kansas to Beirut: A Tale of Two Women

By Lynne Rogers

Sarah Houssayni’s debut novel, “Fireworks,” begins at the onset of the Israeli 2006 bombing of Lebanon in retaliation for the Hezbollah kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers. This promising  novel interweaves the story of two single women, one a 30-year old American nurse from Kansas and one young, 16-year old Lebanese teenager, both trying to negotiate family pressures while searching for love. 

Reconstructing the Disastrous History of the Lebanese Famine

By Angele Ellis

“Safer Barlik,”—the phrase for the Famine— translated as “The Exile” in a 1967 Lebanese feature film traces its roots to the longtime practice of abducting and pressing men in Lebanon, then part of Greater Syria, into Ottoman slave labor gangs. (Safer means voyage; Barlik, Anatolia in Turkish Asia Minor.) Being pressed into these gangs proved tantamount to receiving a death sentence; even if a laborer survived his harsh work term, his masters would release him into the Anatolian wilderness with no resources to return home. Farshee’s research leads him to estimate that only three percent ever did make it back.


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