By: Abdul-fattah Al-Qalqili
History does not tell of any nation who lived and flourished in total isolation from other nations. If such a nation ever existed, it would not have survived ; and if it did survive, it would have never prospered or developed. Interaction is a key prerequisite for development whether for individuals or nations alike. Interaction could either take place through war or exchange. War demonstrates the worst in mankind ; and the war days are the worst starting with the first fight of Cain and Able and ending with any fight taking place now-a-days at this moment in any part of the world.
Exchange is a sign of humanization ; cultural exchange is the most refined type of exchange at all. It had turned into the daily bread of life ; translation became the most important means of cultural exchange . Mahmoud Al-Qee’y, head of the translation department at the UNESCO, draws our attention to the fact that contact through translation would help reach new concepts and lead to understanding and introduction among cultures and peoples. That forms a first step towards removing misunderstanding as an obstacle before accepting the other and reaching an understanding, spreading the culture of peace and tolerance.
The Arabic translation movement from other languages reached its peak at the golden Abbasid era in the second half of the eighth century. Thereafter,it continued at a slower pace but it kept its momentum in the opposite direction –i.e translation from Arabic into other languages- except for the Toledo school of translation which was founded by Alphonso, king of Castellon in the twelveth century A.D, which had a great impact on the age of enlightenment in Europe.
In Palestine, however, the first translation school in the world was established in Bethlehem at the place now called “Saint Jerome School”, according to professor Kostandi Shomali, president of the Palestinian Translation Society. However, in the contemporary age, translation movement got off to a start late in the nineteenth century. The Palestinian had a great share in transferring masterpieces of the world literature into Arabic with French and English having the major part in this process followed by the Russian language.The Palestinian literary works were not lucky enough except for a few translation into foreign languages.
The UN was founded in 1945 to prevent the outbreak of war, and if it did break out to put it off or rather confine its flames and act to reduce its effects. Immediately afterwards, the UNESCO was founded as an agency of the UN to inflame cultural exchanges, and if inflamed, act to increase its interaction and effects: meaning, war is an exchange of death while culture is an exchange of life being in the end the dominant life pattern.
The national development plan of the Palestinian Authority paid special significance to culture, and would act to establish a national council to foster translation – to look after translation of Palestinian literary works into foreign languages . The Ministry of Culture acts to lay down the foundations of that council and draw its future policies.
Starting from the point that the UNESCO serves as bridge of culture and sciences among nations of the world, the Palestinian Ministry of Culture met with the world organization through its representative body at the Palestinian National Authority as a first step on the road and approved a project aimed at increasing the international interest in the Palestinian literature through translating some Palestinian literary works. The Palestinian Ministry of Culture will act to classify Palestinian literary works and select the list of works nominated for translation. The UNESCO, in its turn, would refer the list to the “Literary Translation House” who would prepare the texts for translation and publishing. Thereafter, the said list would be the focus of the “Translation House’s” campaigns directed towards the publishers involved in foreign literatures.
For carrying out such a task at the time,the Ministry of Culture formed a committee headed by colleague As’ad Al-As’ad which held a number of meetings but met many obstacles including the restrictions on the movement of its members which made it difficult to convene the committee.Recently, the members concurred to replace the committee by a work team whose members would choose separately a number of texts which colleague As’ad would later group into one unified coordinated list and would afterwards distribute them as reading assignments among the team members. I have had the honor to be on the membership of the team,and unluckily enough I was entrusted with the chairmanship of the team a few days ago due to the unfortunate health condition of colleague As’ad. I had to fill the blank and if I failed, I will be satisfied with the fact that I made my best efforts for the job.
While wishing speedy recovery for my brother and colleague As’ad, I wish to offer a summary of the efforts so far exerted by all members:
Though the team members are capable of the task and are qualified for it, still they are not necessarily the most capable for it.
In addition to previous readings of the literary works by the team members when they nominated them for translation, they are still required to make a an other critical reading of the same works to submit brief reviews.
Though all the works chosen are worthy of translation, still they are not necessarily the worthiest ones.
It was never meant in this project to present the Palestinian most extraordinary literary works but to present the good ones because our intention is not to stun others but rather to have the world look at us the same way they look at all other peoples of the world; a people who has land, history,genius, and normal talented people –that we deserve life, freedom and independence.
We do not claim that we are God’s chosen people and that others are our servants in peace and war but we affirm that we are one of God’s peoples with all the duties and rights inherent therein.We do not claim that we are superior to other peoples on Earth but insist that equality, cooperation, interaction, reciprocation and mutual support with them.We answer Allah’s call : “Ye peoples, we created you of male and female, made you peoples and tribes to get to know each other ”. Translation constitutes the most important paved roads for getting to know other peoples.
5-When choosing a book, we strictly observe the book’s traits and works’ specifications:
a-The list shall include a book of both sexes, of the dead and the alive, of the residents inside the homeland and those living abroad.
b –The list shall not be restricted to one literary gender and shall not be confined to one theme but to many.
c- As for texts (actually) selected for translation which needed clarification of some terminologies (specially historical novels ), we shall provide the translator with a terms checklist to use as a reference.
To exemplify what we said, we give below a selection pattern of five novels which were authored by four male writers and one female writer ; one of them is dead while the other four are still alive , two of them are residing inside homeland while two others are living abroad. As for the novels’ content, one of them was symbolic, the second historical and the third were historic ( i.e historical in the sense that it talks about known historical events while historic means that it reflects the history a certain era – writes down history ), the fourth talks about the tragedies of expatriation and fears of return and the fifth talks about the return and the pains of expatriation. The five novels mentioned above are :
Memoirs of a Chicken – Dr. Ishaq Mousa Al-Huseini- Dar Al-Ma’aref of Egypt 1943.
Acre and the Kings –Ahmad Rafiq AWad – Bait Al-Maqdes for Publishing and Distribution – Ramallah, 2004.
Phoenix ( Canaan’s Land)-Abdul Karim Al-Sab’awi –Sabil for Printing And Publishing, Australia, 1989.
The Neighing of Distances –Laila Al-Atrash –Dar Al-Sharqiyat for Publishing and Distribution –Cairo, 1999.
A River Bathing in a Lake – Yahya Yakhlof – Dar al-Shorouq for Publishing and Distribution – Ramallah, 1997.
The work team shall continue to perform its duty, and the final list shall be submitted to the UNESCO by May 5th next.
Mahmoud Shuqair’s “ Cousin Condoliza”
When classifying creative art production, M. Shuqair stands as a prolific writer whose list of versatile works ranging from short stories,children fables, plays to autobiographies exceeds the figure of twenty.
Shuqair belongs to that generation of the 1960’s short story writers who emerged strongly in Palestine through the Al- Ofq Al-Jadid (New Horizon Magazine) which used to be published in Jerusalem. The publication introduced a number of young pens at the time, some of who continued writing while most others totally disappeared or fell back as is usually the case.
Despite his writing to the magazine, Shuqair was late in collecting his stories in a book until 1975 when his first collection “Bread of the Others” appeared and supported his late beginnings in the wake of his deportation to Amman from Jerusalem by the Israeli occupation authorities on account of his being a political activist.
In Amman, he co-founded the Jordanian Writers’ Association and kept on its board membership for long years to come during which he published his “The Palestinian Boy”, Rituals of a Miserable Woman”, “Silence of the Windows” and “ The Flashy Crossing”.
Shuqair is an experienced adept writer despite a conservative impression bestowed on him by his first and second collections whose texts were featured with a conspicuous ideological propensity albeit the strength of aesthetic suggestion which their strong narrative betrayed.In his third, fourth, and fifth collections, he vehemently turned to writing the “very short story” which drew very close to the short but condense poem in the form of texts laden with certain implications and shadows borne by an austere language more similar to a subtle fishing zone.
The above introduction was almost necessary as a start to monitor the most recent turning point in Shuqair’s works, which first appeared in his collection “Shakira’s Images”,and which he later established as a style and theme in his last collection “Cousin Condoliza”.
In an act of surprise, Shuqair changes his seat and angle view as typical of a writer who wishes to tell tales of the place and of himself recalling local patterns to be told of to others; something like saying : “this is what happens over here” or “this is what happens to us ”. Thus goes on the Palestinian writing mode mostly towards describing the tale in its special venue as surrounded by its heroes’ fates, apprehensions, life content and loadings.
A sort of a secret door Shuqair opens “here” from where he makes mention of some names and references in an ever - growing outside world, and invites them into the weaving of the reality, people’s homes and dreams.
Such names like Shakira, Naomi kimple, Condoliza Rice and Rumsfield came to be part of people’s knowledge and simple awareness borrowing their presence in the tale and monitoring the reflexes of their presence on the course of daily life of a popular Jerusalemite neighborhood living under military siege, unemployment and blocked horizons.
Shuqair had prepared the venue properly for the presence ; he had also chosen his patterns with conscious haphazardness relying on naïve and fragmented references of the outside world and its “heroes” formed through newspaper clippings, satellite channels’ shows and astray news reports,which comes closer to the act of conducting a chemical experiment of introducing a foreign chemical element that would drive underground water up to the surface and form adequate features for dreams that were never ever within reach.
Not far from these transformations and deep changes, there is yet that unchangeable factor, namely occupation which appears in quick but decisive shots as if to remind us of the tale’s origin and its real reference ; there is an occupation patrol wandering in the lives of those people, at their door and bed steps , a patrol which reproduces and wastes the dreams and hopes which they pinned over the visit of persons from the outside world to their tiny reality.
Alaza’ar ( bad guy) resembles the walk of the girl to that of Naomi Kimple ;he would quarrel with her lover and the neighborhood would keep busy analyzing Naomi Kimple’s character, biography and behavior,and the tale would reach the point of discovering Kimple’s ancestral relationship to the neighborhood; alderman attempts to invite Rumsfield to his home seeking to boost his status in the neighborhood but events take an entirely opposite direction ; the neighborhood singer seeks to publish an album with Shakira and therefore enters into a family struggle with the art critic of the local paper.
All that takes place while the occupation patrol stalks like a silent ghost in their lives thereby constituting the only invariable in consecutive transformations. Shuqair could cleverly portray the Jerusalemite neighborhood and, by adding new elements, could reveal what was heretofore a deeply- entrenched potential in its reality using a simple language and a clear sense of calm and deep humor.
Mohammad Al-Qaisi’s “HAMDA’S BOOK”
This is an extremely special book combining between the sweetness of poetry and the spontaneous overflow of early recollections from the past ; it falls under the category of open texts in which literary genders intermingle. One day, the late M. Al-Qaisi told his friends : “Hamda is my mother. I will shed poetic tears on her enough to wet her grave and perhaps she would feel happy that the best of what I wrote was about her”.
Hamda is the stead fasting and enduring Palestinian woman whose diseased husband left behind him two daughters and an orphan boy who is the poet himself. She had to work hard and “hit her head against the rocks” for the sake of raising her little family.To add to her suffering, the Palestinian Al-Nakba (1948 debacle) took place and their ensuing displacement to a refugee camp.
The greatest reward that mother received was the success of her family in life.
An autobiography and a march
The late poet Mohammad Al-Qaisi had prepared for his Hamda’s Book a house furnished with tears, mythology, memories, approaches and disclosures ; he hosted, using the term he cherished, segments of the world literature and the popular tales to enhance an odyssey which life prepared with extreme cruelty.No matter how far he went in his prolonged text, he would in the end reaffirm his return to Hamda where he first started.In many instances, he would use her name without any linguistic need for it ; he mentions the name for the mere melody it carries, to assert his presence through it thus, putting the credit where it belongs.
The only songs I know are those which I picked from your garden.
She is a cosmic mother extending in his entity to become every mother. Therefore by losing her he became the “orphan of all beings”. His mates in orphanage are her kids too and they spread out:
Your orphan kids are aligning with space
In the midst of his preoccupation with searching for what supports his grief for her loss which grief never runs out , he resorts to the legend turning it up side down.If in the Egyptian legend Orora’s tears fill the space with grief on her dead son Mamnoun, Al-Qaisi overturns the tale to make son Mamnoun the eternal weeper on the Egyptian Orora who turned into the Palestinian Hamda. Soon afterwards, the biography of Hamda the widow and her four orphans turns into a march for the only boy amongst the girls. While she quarrels with time, he grows and the biography and the march rises up on three pillars: Khalil, the dead father whose image appears blurred against the scene’s background close to a spiritual reference for the mother and more of a moral guard for the son.Hamda is the mother who would one day shout : How few my men are ! but she carries water in the clay jugs for the luxurious women and suffers to ensure the boy’s march in life and the future of the two girls after the eldest got a hard marriage deal while the third in number died at eight and then comes the turn of the son who would exclusively possess the second book to become the narrator, the story, the witness and the poet.Al-Qaisi resorts to the inherited country songs, wailings and solo melodies enveloped in a language mixture of the sentence structure as in the Holy Book, the Cananite Book of Pearls or the Pharos’ Book of the Dead. He could turn into a self monitor as the adult poet watches the boy which he was one day.
I am the young boy, who saw me
Or saw him collecting wild figs and dates,
Chasing butterflies and grasshoppers
And setting traps.
The beauty of life, however,is only self-deception. Mother Hamda pumps her heart’s blood into her son’s soul so as to keep him happy, to study and grow up.She vowed to Khalil, her husband,to abandon any black powder she used to beautify her eyes, give up the hand- ornamented dresses and never to be covered by a blanket with another man .Her son- come poet would remember all that:
Good evening, ye sleeping kingdom of her
Good evening, ye clear crystal of her
Your words were a dictionary, my book, my curse, my travel
Your words were the sigh of the earth which gave my blood the permission.
She is the one “ praised among the widows” and she is the “poetic end ” being the one who lasts after our birds pass by, after our strolls and directions pass by. He continues : I pass by and stay, and your poetry stays …life stays … life…l i f e.Upon closing Hamda’s Book, the poet never forgets to call upon his readers to pray that his life be long enough to complete writing his march after he accomplished Hamda’s biography.When a person at the age of forty two hopes to stay longer , we could imagine the extent of death’s presence in his mind or even the formation of the death seed in his soul since he became an orphan at the age of two.
Book of the Son
If Hamda’s Book encompassed a glowing text of poetry and sorrow where poetry mixes with life prose’s cross lines and time coincidences, the second book of this triad work, namely the “Book of the Son” reaches the dramatic epical climax taking the form of autobiography.Be ware, we are not before a memoirs notebook but before a poet who cuts branches, leaves and buds from the tree of his life knowing the ties that bind them together even at a time when he surprises himself by an incident that took place long ago or a wound that can not be reconciled unless it is opened anew. He starts with what he calls the “ author’s speech and introduction to himself”. When he borrows this traditional term from the heritage “the author’s speech” instead of the modern contemporary term “introduction”, he in fact opts for reaffirming the expansion of the vision area into the far past and deep time.When he returns to the word “introduction”, we see that he adds it to himself not only for the sake of self-centering but because the essence of creativeness lies in the act “individualizing” the world. Though he tells us his march , but he also tells us part of the human suffering which the Palestinian people either coincidentally or otherwise encountered.Such a fact he clarifies from the first lines when he addresses his mother: “ my words about you would remain perfect … my words are the bells of this heavenly anguish”. It is interesting that the Book of the Son, his autobiography starts with a speech addressed to his mother as if all that book which he had just finished and dedicated to her was not enough. In fact, it was the coincidence of the two icons: the mother and the child. The father was present in both together as a mission in the mother and an extension in the son.
Al-Qaisi would start his autobiography upon the moment of Al-Nakba. The country fell and the bereaved Palestinian had had to manage and cope with their new reality. Here, Hamda who had become a widow two years ago in her village “Kufr Anah “, would be removed from Bahia,her eldest daughter,who would leave with her husband to the unknown. Hamda would embrace the remainders : Nadia, Zakiyya, and the last one in the breed who is the only son : where you go from here, mother of Mohammad ? The book will be overflowing with bitterness caused by the occupation which usurped the land and displaced the people, by the relatives who gave a cold shoulder to the widow and her orphans, by destiny which deprived her from her husband and shepherd in the midst of her and their worst need for him, by poverty which ground the bones but not to the point of giving up motherhood and dearest ones. She would work in the houses, fields, carrying water, weeping far-away Bahia and guard the other kids with her soul. However, poverty would ally itself with ignorance to snatch Zakiyya away. A pernicious kind of worms spread out in the refugee camp. Worms used to come out of the refugees intestines as a result of the bad food distributed by the UNRWA those days, The refugees discovered a fearful treatment for that ailment : ignorance juice. They went on drinking gasoline to kill the worms in their stomachs but what happened is that gasoline killed Zakiyya instead and disturbed her mother’s life as she could not stop blaming herself for that disaster. Zakiyya’s death would turn into the key of Mohammad’s relationship with death. He did not contemplate death but he lived it, was obsessed with it and wondered if he would have joined his sister had he drunk the gas like her.
Mohammad would then grow up, show industriousness in seeking his living as a street seller of newspapers, hotel boy, restaurant worker. He would smoke cigarettes, keep busy away from school which would cause his mother Hamda to suffer, and they would have a noisy quarrel over that. He would discover the innocent love in Hasiba, daughter of the refugee camp, without exchanging talk with her, and would learn the alphabets of the female body language through the night caressing of Rasmyia, their neighbor’s daughter. He knew the genie stories and they gave him the shedders.As an adolescent, he would be terribly shocked when he was charged of steeling by an other hotel boy who worked with him. The reader would tremble when one reads of Al-Qaisi as a young man in prison attacked by a trained dog. He would then be proven innocent but the incident leaves a deep scar in his soul. However, he was not raised to be physically weak as he played sports, tried boxing side by side with writing which began to overwhelm his life. He would rebel against the alderman who had asked him to write speeches in his own name when Al-Qaisi would declare that he was the real speech writer. He would recall his father as a farmer and a man of principles who had dreamt of raising a strong and attentive son.
Death is what identifies the world of this boy who broke his arm while flying a kite.
He would discover travel and wandering until he finds out : “places in themselves turned into walking to places ; time is a fast -moving chariot towards its likes”. The text which is written would then reads : this is the book which I wrote to present my death autobiography before death.”
The Last Picture in the Album
A novel by : Samih Al-Qasem
This is a short but condense novel written by such a great renowned poet : Samih Al-Qasem. He was only nine when the state of Israel was established.He kept residing in Rameh, his Galilee village, together with his family where he was raised and educated. The novel together with its predecessor “ To Hell with the Lilac “ could be considered a documentation of the sufferings of the Palestinians who stayed behind in their land under impossible living conditions.
“The Last Picture in the Album” is not a novel written in black and white. If there is the picture of the ruthless Israeli officer who looks down at Amir,the Palestinian young man, there is yet that of Ruty, the officer’s daughter who leans towards Amir and sympathizes with h brother, Ali. Her father would yet commit a crime of killing Ali and would add his picture to his victims’ special album.
Among other human coincidences was that Ruty would die as a result of her father’s cruelty in the hope that her picture would be the last in her father’s album.
The Course of the novel: The Last Picture in the Album
Amir is a Palestinian youth from Gallili, who studied hard in difficult conditions to obtain his certificate in the field of political sciences but the Israeli authorities would not employ a Palestinian in its diplomatic corps unless he was a collaborator.Therefore, he turns into unemployment and anger and waste of time free of charge.The matter becomes even worse when Ali, his brother, passes the Pagerot test , the Israeli equivalent for the general secondary school certificate. He would not also be allowed to enroll at the university for racial reasons.
There appears in the horizon Abdel-Rahim, a nice communist fellow and a friend of Amir, who persuades him to work as a bartender at one restaurant as the only available option but one which demands patience, endurance and long breath.
Amir collides with the officer accidentally and pours the liquids he carries on him.The Israeli officer reproaches him but Amir would not let the insult go. Ruty, the officer’s daughter, would admire his dignity and would contact him behind her father, and the two would get closer to each other both psychologically and emotionally. Meanwhile, Ali, Amir’s brother, would feel fed up with unemployment, and would feel frustrated as he could not continue his study, therefore he decides to escape to Syria seeking a better opportunity at any level : study or work ; an Israeli borders’ force would intercept and kill him . We would discover that the officer who fired on Ali was Ruty’s father, the same racist officer who used to brag about the number of his victims and put their pictures in his special album to show to his friends on occasions.Ruty would be in the coffee shop when a young Jew tells her that her father was a hero because he killed a new terrorist. When she would see the picture in the newspaper, she would recognize him as Ali whom she knew through Amir, her lover and his brother, that nice and innocent boy whom Ruty visited him at home when she was invited by his brother.Could he be turned into a picture in father’s dreadful album? Ruty would tremble and collapse and suffers a nervous breakdown when her mother arrives with all the sympathy, compassion, fear and love but could not save her.
Ruty takes her picture from her identity card and plants in her father’s album hoping to be the last picture in the album,meaning that she considers herself one of her father’s victims who killed her objectively when he ordered Ali’s killing.
It is a deep human outcry of protest against racism, killing and non-recognition of other’s humanity.
The novel reveals two levels of social relations : the first in the Arab community inside Israel where youth suffer from unequal opportunities in study and jobs, where unemployment turns into a daily state of silenced grumbling and anger and where a university graduate would work as a bartender at a restaurant or a tavern to earn his living provided that he hides his identity and change his name when required to avoid insult and provocation by the Jews. The younger generation who holds the general secondary school certificate and is at the threshold of university might think of leaving the country to look for an opportunity.The fathers and mothers generation remains unable to provide anything to their sins except the prayers and patience. Despite all this, the Palestinian mother would not have a preconceived aggressive view against the Jews. She would say: your fingers are not all the same and there must those whom you could deal with.In fact,we see that there is a theoretical opportunity of human relations between the Amir, the Arab and Ruty, the Jew but racism, cruelty and force would kill that opportunity.
The other level is the Jewish community where the officer controls the family system through the military behavior which clashes with the humanitarian relationship between Ruty and her mother. The mother attempts to accommodate the fierce mood her officer husband , show sympathy towards her tender daughter Ruty and she is keen to provide security and self-assurance at home.How could this assurance be possible overshadowed by an album filled with pictures of Arab victims killed by the father officer? The prevailing atmosphere of hatred against the Arabs could poison the nature of the human life.We would discover this, not only with the officer himself but also with the Jewish youth who saw Ruty at the restaurant and broke the news to her that her father killed an Arab as though that was a heroic act worthy of every praise.
The last word which the novel would pass to us is that violence eats up not only its victims but also its perpetrators. Ruty’s death is only a painful expression of the violence and its reflection on the officer’s internal life.
The novel is characterized by local touches and details and needs explanatory notes to help the reader understand the private features of the people in this part of the world.
Autobiography of Bani Ballout Dynasty
A novel by Mohammad Ali Taha
Mohammad Ali Taha, the writer,president of the Arab Writers Federation in Israel, gained his literary reputation through writing short stories as he published a number of story collections and through the satirical short essays in the newspapers. In his Bani Ballout autobiography, Taha opens avenues for the novel in a typically distinguished style combining the magic of the popular tale and the historical events.He traces back the parental ancestry of Mustafa Ballout,the novel’s hero, to Huran plains in Syria and the maternal ancestry to Lebanon in a clear signal that both Syrian territories were originally a single entity.The author follows up Mustafa’s autobiography since the naughty childhood until he became a rebel against the British in 1936 recalling some of his fathers exploits.During his popular semi-epical narrative, the author reveals deep and interesting aspects of the Palestinian life in the countryside in the first half of the twentieth century. We would read stories of love, bravery, plots and poverty ; a thing which spreads a literary atmosphere commemorating group spirit while asserting the special nature of each character.
About Bani Ballout
The novel lies in two hundred medium-sized pages, tensely and indicatively dedicated to the “soul of my father”.Though he traces the family tree of Bani Ballout back to Lebanon yet, he uses a prelude combining both the subjective and the objective together when he points to the death of the narrator’s father as taking place on Thursday Sept.3rd, 1981,which we would discover that it was the death date of the author’s father himself. We, therefore, realize that he adopts the character of Khalil Ballout not as a reproduction of autobiography but as being his own intrinsic subconscious autobiography.The novel is distributed into fourteen chapters with each carrying a separate subtitle and follows the course of the popular saga to accommodate between the real state of affairs and the background on which memory stands.
Mustafa Ballout, the father, leaves behind for his inheritors a clay jug and leaves a will making it the share of his son Khalil.Though such wills stir sensitive feelings, the thing which puts the fire off was that the jug was almost empty except from the autobiography of Bani Ballout as lived by grandfather Jaber and father Mustafa.
The legacy here is not money over which sons fight but rather a history to learn from. The autobiography tells that Mustafa was a discrete and decisive young man of resolute and willpower who witnessed a traditional village-life challenge against one of village’s tough guys. The challenge was to visit the cemetery at night and leave a clear sign that he was there.Mustafa would then infiltrate the burial place to scare him away and spoil his task.A few days later, Mustafa would declare that he could reach the cemetery and when he succeeds in doing that he turns into a little hero in whose
Falls Jawhara, a wife of the Effendi ( local celebrity ) and makes a habit of dating at her home at night until the Effendi caught and insulted him but fearing scandal turned him loose . Mustafa who bore the shame of that night would turn into another kind of person when he joined the rebels. Having been caught by the Effendi, he went down town to live away from the eyes. In a matches factory meets the workers closely attached to the revolution against he British.The qualitative shift in his life takes place when he meets the “Sheikh”, the leader of the revolution. When he rose in ranking,and his reputation became wide spread, the Effendi came offering to divorce Jawhara, his wife in his favor as if to bribe him using his wife because such a type of society celebrities could not live except under force, the force of occupation yesterday and that of revolution today. Mustafa turns away from him in disdain.
Mustafa then falls in love with Tamima, the pretty girl who could communicate the messages of the rebels to Abdul-Karim,the patriotic policeman. Mustafa Ballout together with his colleagues Sirhan, Marzouk, Al-Fahd, Abdul-Karim and Tamima would then pass through interesting adventures in which their lives were put at stake. And when the Commander tries to set them up, Mutafa carries an assassination attempt against him but he miraculously escapes death. That was not the only shooting mistake Mustafa did because,in a later incident, Mustafa would fire at the traitor Effendi only to realize that he shot dead the patriotic policeman, Abdul Karim. After that shocking tragedy, the rebel could only upkeep his gun and wander in the prairies to begin the next chapter which has not as yet appeared in the novel.
Thus, the will hidden in the jug opens an avenue of memories, a re- reading of 1936 experience and its aftermath, and a re-assessment of the expertise, efficiency and options which calls for writing a complementary novel for two reasons: the first dealing with the history of Palestine, while the other is a subjective-objective reason to highlight the history of Bani Ballout noting that the author relies heavily on the popular expressions such as : so and so is cut off from a tree …..so he is from Ballout dynasty …Ballout is a kind of strong deep-rooted tree (oak) but is only a tree…
What attracts one’s attention in the novel’s narration is that all its chapters end with a single statement: the secret kept with us …what is the secret which Mohammad Ali Taha wanted to confide in this novel of his?
A novel by Rashad Abu Shawar
This is a novel inspired by a story whose key events really took place during the first Palestinian Intifada (1987-1993) in which realism and symbolism integrate to portray the human tragedy in living and coexistence become almost impossible under the policy of oppression and occupation.
In the novel, a Palestinian and a Jew die whereas in normal circumstances one could possibly have rescued the other but for the circumstances created by occupation which is connected with cruelty that hinders the spontaneity of life and cooperation between human beings.When the Jew stands in need of a part of the Palestinian’s body who has no hope in life after receiving a fatal injury during the Intifada, a number of human patterns emerge to offer their views in this thorny issue but only too late.
The question is: who is to blame for this death? …The Palestinian young man was killed by an occupation -troops’ bullet, while the Jew who needed the Palestinian’s heart died before the Palestinian’s relatives could make up their minds whether to permit transplant the heart of their killed son in the body of a man who belongs to group who killed their son.
It constitutes a tragedy and a question combined together at a tough dramatic moment
to form an issue raised before the human conscience.
The Course of Events in the Novel: