“. . . Summer is hand-blown Hebron glass. . .” (S.V. Atalla)

A weekly publication of cultural news from Palestine.

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This week’s edition is titled “Then and Now.”
It includes “Music in Palestine, Then and Now,” by Amira Gabarin.

Each week the e-magazine includes on the home page the announcement:

We DEMAND that the Israeli army return out computers confiscated from our office during the army’s raid on our premises on 22 Jun 2014.

The Palestine Youth Orchestra
The Palestine Youth Orchestra

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poetry-arab-womenThe Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology. Ed. Nathalie Handal. Northampton, MA: Interlink Pub Group (December 2000). Available through Amazon.

From the introduction at Poetry.org:

“This recent volume showcases the work of over 80 accomplished and emerging Arab women poets. With the exception of Oman and Sudan, every Arab country is represented here, as are Arab women in exile or living in non-Arab countries and women poets of Arab descent from Europe and North America.

Individual poets represented here include Etel Adnan, Vénus Khoury-Ghata, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Sabah al-Kharrat Zwein.

A helpful 30-page introduction, with a focus on geography and history, helps to contextualize the poetry. Biographical notes of the poets and translators–as well as a listing of poets by country–are also useful, and will ideally lead readers to more in-depth explorations of individual poets.”

One of the poets represented in the anthology is the Palestinian-American
S.V. Atalla. She was born in New York, completed high school in Amman, Jordan, and now lives in Southern California where she teaches at Mt. San Antonio College. In 1992 she obtained an MA in Comparative Literature from UCLA. She is best-known for her translations of Arabic short stories and poems.

Atalla’s poems in The Poetry of Arab Women are “Diaspora” and “Visitng the West Bank.” Her poem “Story” was published in The Painted Bride Quarterly 47 (1992).

“Story,” by S.V. Atalla

Splitting seeds
in her teeth she spits out
the years like spelling,
one letter after the other.

Bits of Jerusalem
are chips of blue tile.
Summer is hand-blown Hebron glass,
slender, stoppered.

When she says, Jaffa
the iris of each eye is a dark fruit;
her knuckles knot
high in her rustling hair.

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Excerpted from “Death by Immolation vs. Death by Isolation,” by Shukri Abu Baker of the Holy Land Foundation

The savage immolation of Jordanian fighter pilot, Lt. Muath Kasasbeh by Isis, once again demonstrated how ugly events can turn amidst a paradoxical war. Isis claims to be a genuine “Islamic State” while it has . . .[committed] some of the most prohibited acts in Islam. . . I have always had a problem with those who use the cloak of Islam as an outfit for all bodies of ugliness, and I find it hard to fathom how any Muslim could capriciously violate the teachings of his own religion in the name of the religion itself. . . Isis’s actions don’t represent Islam any more than Israel’s actions represent Judaism; thus, holding Muslims responsible for the crimes of the ‘Islamic State” is as wrong as holding Jews responsible for the crimes of the “Jewish State” Israel claims to be.

It is strangely quizzical,  how the international community, including a number of Arab regimes, have come together to destroy Isis because of its barbarism when last year, for 51 days, the world including Arab states stood idle, and  some actually grinned, as Israel unleashed its demonic forces onto Gaza taking 2,150 lives, 520 of them children. . .

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