The following is a shorter version of a chapter I contributed to Translating Dissent: Voices from and within the Egyptian Revolution, ed. Mona Baker, which is out now via Routledge and available for purchase.  This content has been edited for brevity. 

In 2013, I gave a talk at the Petrie Museum in London to an audience of Egyptology students and academics. I presented the work of Alaa Awad, a 33-year-old Egyptian street artist who had painted murals of ancient Egyptian art around the area of Tahrir Square during the political protests of 2011 and 2012.

As I showed them a series of murals depicting women in fierce, coloured robes walking to battle, or a row of bearded men kneeling before the throne of a mouse being fanned by a cat, I could sense the room temperature changing as they began to realise that the paintings were in fact almost perfect replicas of murals…

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The Nihilist Void

Age of ReasonThe Age of Reason is the first in a trilogy of novels written by Jean-Paul Sartre that take place in France around the time of World War II. I have yet to read the second and third novels in the series – The Reprieve and Troubled Sleep – but after finishing this first installment, I am eager to get started on them. Other than Nausea, which is one of my favorite books of all time,  The Age of Reason is the only one of Sartre’s fictional works that I have read. Nonetheless, I have reached the conclusion that Sartre is among the most masterful writers of philosophical fiction. I was absolutely captivated by The Age of Reason.

The Age of Reason deals with ideas and issues that are universally important and with which I am increasingly concerned as I move through middle age. The story’s characters exist in an atmosphere…

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Mad Bibliophile

I am going to be brave and review Sartre.

Set in Paris on the eve of WWII, during a summer heat wave in 1938, the story follows Mathieu Delarue, a philosophy professor, over two days. Over the course of these two days, Mathieu is trying to procure four thousand francs for a safe abortion for his mistress, Marcel. As Mathieu tries to raise the money through family and friends, he reassesses his life, its meaning and the beliefs he has followed.

Along the way, we meet his circle of acquaintances. We meet Daniel who, out of spite and with curiousity to see Matheiu’s downfall, to see him lose his freedom, lies that he doesn’t have the money. He also plays the go-between between Matheiu and Marcel, who secretly desires the baby. There is Jacques, Mathieu’s older, successful and stable brother who refuses to lend the money to Mathieu but instead…

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Life of Denisa

Anca’s collection of poems and short stories (divided in three parts: The Birds, The Beasts and The Spirits) catches your attention from its first lines. And you feel the author’s presence and you can see how all her characters (mainly mythological creatures) come alive. It’s like she’s right there talking to you, sharing with you her vast knowledge and her beautiful imagination. For Anca has a rich phantasy and her writing, inspired by mythology (Greek, Scandinavian, Indian, Babylonian and so on) and hinting permanently to different cultural events, is vivid, full of life and hope and love and, in my opinion, illustrates one’s process of awakening and maturation in general. The reader can find him/herself in Anca’s writing and that’s what makes Hidden Animals so catchy and fascinating.

Magic is present everywhere in the poems and in the short stories, along with the mystical presence of beautiful women and men. The characters, like…

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Random Shelling قصف عشوائي

Palestinian girl in Gaza demonstrating near the buffer zone

In 1995, when Samar became pregnant with her fifth child, doctors suspected that the fetus had a growth deficiency and would not survive.

Samar, her husband Ibrahim, and their four other children had just settled in Occupied Jerusalem’s Shu’fat Refugee Camp, with Samar’s mother Nawal looking after her with the utmost care and affection. Samar delivered a perfectly healthy boy who they named Subhi after his maternal grandfather, a resistance fighter with the Palestinian Liberation Organization during the 1970s and former political prisoner in Israeli jails. The young Subhi’s father, Ibrahim, had also been imprisoned in those jails during the First Intifada. As had two of young Subhi’s brothers, who each spent nearly a year imprisoned.

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The Cinephile Fix


Elia Kazan’s “On the Waterfront” has been discussed endlessly by film fans, critics and film historians. It’s easy to see why, for “On the Waterfront” can be studied from various perspectives. On the one hand the film reflects a time in history when some Americans named names before the House of Un-American Activities Committee much like Terry Malloy does in court. It has also been argued to be Kazan’s answer to Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible” or his redemption and justification for falling victim of Joseph McCarthy’s witch-hunt of the 1950’s.

Others simply revisit the film to study its significance in film history and the impact of Brando’s method acting. Pauline Kael recognized strong Christian symbolism in the plot and looked at the film from a religious point of view. Among other things a lawsuit filed against Columbia pictures in 1955 revealed that the film was also a true…

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Random Shelling قصف عشوائي

Published in teleSUR


When the media obscures Israel’s crimes as an occupier or equates its brutality with Palestinian resistance it does not constitute objective coverage.

On Oct. 3, dozens of Jewish settlers raided the Palestinian village of Burin southwest of Nablus in the occupied northern West Bank. Some were armed with guns and other carried rocks and firebombs as they marauded through the village, chanting racist slurs against Palestinians and calling for revenge.

Backed by the Israeli occupation army, settlers set fire to dozens of olive trees belonging to Burin villagers shortly before the start the olive harvest season, the most important time of the year for many of the villagers. Meanwhile, Israeli occupation forces fired stun grenades and tear gas canisters on the villagers as they provided cover for the settlers.

Saturday’s attack was the second in three days that Burin had faced. The previous attack on Thursday also…

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