Friday, November 26, 2004

Goodmorning, hope everyone is enjoying the cold..We have really missed it..I haven't missed the enormous hormone accident flies..those could go somewhere far away..

Several weddings this past week prompt me to just mention the is a beautiful thing to see two people really in love and really friends get married (as opposed to the strangers who sit awkwardly making small talk on the kosha) is also a beautiful thing to see the entire family and all the couple's friends celebrate with them (as opposed to women on bleachers staring at women and men doing a kissing train all the way out the door..Ever watched a video of the men congratulating the groom on 'fast-forward'? It's like a bunch of mad chickens pecking at each other) is also a beautiful thing to see parents and family and friends celebrating marriages that fall outside of the 'arranged', or the 'you only marry your cousin, or a Kuwaiti of your class, or, at any rate, a Kuwaiti' ...Mix bloods people! Improve the gene pool, widen the horizons, give your kids family from a different culture, let them grow up knowing the complexity of human presence on this planet..Let them grow up used to diversity and even the slight hardship that might come with it all..They will be better equipped...and think of the gift you give to all the closed minded people around you...they might learn to open their hearts a little every time they see someone step out of bounds successfully, and happily.
Bless all the couples that have decided to leap into the future by promising themselves to each other.. and I have a feeling that those who had to think twice, three times and a hundred times before making that leap have already developed some of the skills necessary for a healthy existence together...they have learnt to communicate, to stand by each other and to realize that it's something that you have to work on daily, this thing called marriage.


sarah said...

Amen to that, Sister!

On an unrelated subject: I came across your blog recently, and have been impressed by your interest in literature. Are there any books you recommend? Specifically, is there any arabic-language fiction you recommend? Also, have you read "Nine Parts of Desire" by Geraldine Brooks? I read it for a women's-studies reading group and . . . well, I thought it started out well (as a jounalistic endevour) but the end was awful and kind of ruined the book.

kwtia said...

Hi Sarah, let's see, I seem to have read more poetry and plays in Arabic than fiction, but i'll give it a try..I like to read Mahmoud Darwish, Samih Al-Qasim and Adonis when in the mood for poetry of resistence and alienation...I have liked the little I have read by Fadwa Tuqan...Farid Al-Othman's poetry makes me cry..
I remember that the first Arabic story that I enjoyed (and when I say enjoyed I mean not that it was a happy tale, but that I could see and feel everything described) was the short story 'Men in The Sun' by Ghassan Kanafani..I like the way he uses words..I have read his other short stories since then and some of his unfinished writings, but men in the sun left a big impression.
I am currently reading an Arabic translation of 'Samarkand' by Amin Malouf (originally in French) it is a lovely translation..I have read his other stuff in English and would recommend him as an Arab abroad..
I am ashamed to say that I have only read a collection of short stories by Naguib Mahfouz, but if you haven't read him, check him out..
I am currently plowing through the first third of Ahlam Mustaghanmi's 'Thakirat al Jasad' because it was recommended by everyone...I haven't yet gotten fully drawn into it..but I have hope..
I also have collegues who are absolutely mad about the fiction of Turki Al-Hamad..the Saudi writer..But I have yet to read anything by him..
I liked reading the plays of Sa'adallah Wannus..I have read all of them I think..they are very much influenced by Brecht and i suppose they are political allegories, which is the short way to describe them..
I was interested in Tawfiq il'Hakim's plays for a while..
Oh I really like Bader Shaker al-Sayyab's poetry..
I am sure I am forgetting so many that are my favourites but before I go on forever here I will stop..
Oh as for 9 parts of desire, yes i went very quickly through it, a while back when it first came out..It's a subjective account of her experiences and it can be enjoyed on that level..I wouldn't say that it represents reality, because what does really?, and of course, what is reality? But if you want to continue in that vein (looking at women's lives through the eyes of both foreigners and people from the area I would recommend the following):
Leila Ahmed's books which include a subjective autobigraphy called 'A Border Passage' and a couple of books on Islam and women which are worth looking at..(Though I have problems agreeing with her on many things)
'Islam and Gender' by Ziba Mir-Hosseini, which is a collection of interviews with Iranian Clerics (this is not about Arabic women, but about Muslim and Shia women in particular, it is very interesting) She also made a documentary which I saw, about divorce in Iran..
Fatima Mernissi's books were controversial when they came out, but they are interesting reads..'The Veil and the Male Elite' could be a starter..
Elizabeth W Fernea has done interviews and has travelled throughout the Middle East, so she is one to read for her perspective on women here..Also for Kuwait in particular there is Haya al-Mughni's work, which is about women's rights and women's social and political participation (or lack thereof).

sarah said...

Thank you so much for the info!

I read a bunch of Naguib Mahfouz in English. I really liked the Palace Walk trilogy. I would love to read it in Arabic, but I live in the US and I haven't had any luck finding an arabic version. I read Fernea's "Guests of the Sheik." I really liked it, even though it was written like 40 years ago. The only other arabic novel that I have read is called Mothballs (I read it in English), but a lady whose last name is Mamdouh. I forgot her first name. I didn't really understand the book. Maybe it makes more sense in Arabic, or maybe it's just a bad book.

I have a Fahd Al3askar biography/book of poetry (7ayatuh wa shi3ruh) that is dear to me. But other than that I haven't read any arabic poetry since high school.

I didn't realize that they publish arabic plays. I really like reading plays in English, so I would probably also like reading plays in Arabic.

Over here the only "arabic" bookstores are just islamic bookstores, so you can't find anything besides Quran, Hadith, Tefseer, etc. But now that you've given me a list of authors, I can look online and try to find some of them. Thanks again!