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The Blogosphere’s Protective Edge: Entries from Palestinian Blogs
Fragments from Gaza / Mahmoud Jawda

Fragments from Gaza / Mahmoud Jawda

Written in Arabic by Mahmoud Jawda

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سأخبركُم بما هو أصعب من الموت في غزة بصاروخٍ من النوع الفاخر. الأصعب هو أن يُطلب منكَ باتصال هاتفي من العدو الإسرائيلي يأمرك باخلاء بيتك، ليتم قصفه بعد عشر دقائق، تخيل معي، عشر دقائق، ويتم محو تاريخكَ الصغير عن سطح الأرض، هداياك وصور الأخوة والأبناء الشهداء والاحياء، أشياؤك التى تحبها، كرسيكَ، كُتبكَ، آخر ديوان شعر قرأته، رسالة من أختكَ المُغتربة، ذكرياتكَ مع من أحببت، رائحة الفراش، عاداتكَ في ملاطفة الياسمينة التى تتدلى من شباككَ الغَربي، مشبكُ شعرِ ابنتك، دفء المَقعد، ملابسكَ القديمة، سجادة الصلاة، ذهب الزوجة، تحويشة العمر… تخيل معي كل هذا يمرُ أمام عينكَ في عشرِ دقائق، كل هذا الوجع يمر عليكَ وأنت مُصابٌ بالدهشة،ومن ثم تأخذ أوراقكَ الثبوتية التى في عُلبة الحلو المعدنية، وتخرج لتموت ألف مرّة، أو ترفض الخُروج لتموت مرَة وآحدة

Published August 18, 2017
Texts posted on Facebook during the Israeli war in the Gaza Strip, Palestine, July 2014

Fragments from Gaza / Mahmoud Jawda

Written in Arabic by Mahmoud Jawda


Translated into English by Yasmine Haj

I’ll tell you what’s harder than dying from a rocket of the grand type. What’s harder is to receive a call from the Israeli enemy asking you to evacuate your house, to be shelled in ten minutes, imagine with me, ten minutes, and your little history is erased off the face of the earth, your gifts and the pictures of the brothers and martyred sons and living ones, the things you love, your chair, your books, the poetry collection you’d last read, a letter from your diasporic sister, your shared memories with those you’ve loved, the scent of your bed, your habit of caressing the jasmine that dangles by your western window, your daughter’s hair clips, the warmth of the seat, your old clothes, the prayer rug, the wife’s jewellery, your life’s savings.. Imagine with me that all this flashes before your eyes in ten minutes, all this pain passes you by and you’re stunned, and then you take your ID papers kept in a tin box of sweets, and you go out to die a thousand times, or refuse to leave and die once.

Published August 18, 2017
Texts posted on Facebook during the Israeli war in the Gaza Strip, Palestine, July 2014
© Specimen

Fragmentos de Gaza / Mahmoud Jawda

Written in Arabic by Mahmoud Jawda


Traducido al español por Shadi Rohana

Les voy a contar lo más difícil de todo esto, más difícil que la muerte por esos cohetes profesionales, de última tecnología. Es cuando recibes una llamada por teléfono del enemigo israelí y te diga que usted tiene 10 minutos para desocupar la casa. Imagínense, 10 minutos. Son 10 minutos para borrar tu pequeña historia del mapa: regalos; las fotos de tus amigos, hijos, ya sean mártires o que aún respiren; tu silla; tus libros; el último libro de poemario que leíste; la carta que te escribió tu hermana migrante; el olor de tu cama; tu costumbre de acariciar el jazmín flotando desde tu ventana, esta ventana que alguien construyó desde hace 100 años; el peine de tu hija; el calor de la silla; tu ropa vieja; la alfombra de oración; las joyerías de tu esposa; lo que ahorraste toda tu vida… Imagínense, que mientras todo esto pasa por tu mente, lo único que puedes hacer es agarrar la cajita de dulces en la cual guardas tus documentos oficiales y correr para morir 10 veces; o te quedas en tu casa, para morir solo una vez.

Published August 18, 2017
Textos recopilados del Facebook durante la guerra israelí contra la población de la Franja de Gaza, Palestina, julio de 2014


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These texts were selected at moments of impotence in the face of recurrent events.
The first two, Kayyal’s and Omar’s, were selected in 2015 when my friend Benjamín García and I decided to publish a bilingual Arabic-Spanish anthology that would contain a selection of Palestinian and Mexican blog entries and translate them into Arabic and Spanish. The motive was rather simple: both of us were ardent readers of our respective national blogospheres and have been worriedly witnessing their collapse in front of our eyes. Once a free territory for insomniac individuals’ profound and authentic reflections defying all rules of grammar and morals, we were witnessing how the vast majority of bloggers—similar to Bertrand Russell’s turkey—were eventually induced to the use of the ephemeral “social media” and “smart phones” applications that raze everything in their path. Seeing how the “rich, diverse, free web that I loved is dying” (in the words of Iranian blogger Hossein Derkhashan), Benjamín and I desperately decided to print a book we called Tadwiniyyat: desde la blogósfera México-Palestina. Printed in Mexico City in May of 2016, the book contains 10 Mexican blog entries translated into Arabic and 10 Palestinian blog entries translated into Spanish. Our book was freely distributed in the city’s streets and its texts were read out on various occasions. Kayyal’s and Omar’s blog entries, written in 2014, appeared in the anthology in Spanish translation.
The other three texts (Yawda, Miqdar and Tuffaha) were written in July/August 2014 during Israel’s war on the population of the Gaza Strip, the third in seven years. This time, the Israeli army officially translated its war operation into English as “Operation Protective Edge.” In Hebrew, for the Israelis, the operation that killed 2,220 Palestinians, including 551 children, was named Tzuk Eitan: Mighty Cliff. On July 22nd, while war was broadcasted on tv, a group of poets and artists from Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia, Argentina, Syria, Guatemala, Iran, the United States, Switzerland and Palestine met in Mexico City’s Casa Refugio—a cultural center and residency for writers who have been targets of political persecution in their home countries—to read the Spanish translations of a number of short texts written on the social network by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and abroad.
In Abilio Estévez’ “Why do I write?,” published here on Specimen, we read that “maybe it’s true that whenever a person doesn’t have any answers he writes a story.” Isn’t that how we feel about writing, reading and translating, after all?

– Shadi Rohana, Mexico City, August 2017


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