The Blogosphere’s Protective Edge: Entries from Palestinian Blogs
Fragments from Gaza / Manal Miqdal

Fragments from Gaza / Manal Miqdal

Writtten in Arabic by Manal Miqdal


الوضع أسوأ مما تتخيلون، الأمر لا علاقة له بالشّجاعة والصّمود من عدمِها، الليلة الماضية كانت الأعنف منذ بداية الحرب أو العدوان على غزة، هذه المرة لم أبكِ -كعادتي- الصّوت المتواصل العنيف الذي سمعتُه ربّما منعني من أية ردة فعل.

في الصّباح بعد آخر هجومٍ نفّذته طائرات الاحتلال الصهيوني على المدينة، استجمعتُ قوايَ وبدأتُ عمليةَ جمعٍ لممتلكاتي الخاصة، من أوراق ثبوتية، شهادات مدرسية وجامعية، دروع تكريم، هدايا، ما تبقى من رسائل كنتُ قد تلقّيتها من عمي داخل السجون الإسرائيلية، هاتفي المحمول، اللابتوب وغيرها.
نظرتُ مطولاً إلى مكتبتي الخاصة، لابدّ أن أحتفظ بأقل عددٍ ممكن منها؛ لأنه ليس من السّهل حمل كل هذه الكتب وقت الهروب، قررّت فرز الكتب التي تحملُ توقيعاً خاصاً من كاتبها. أحسستُ بغصةٍ لا أريد أن أفقدَ مكتبتي للمرة الثانية كما في الحرب الأولى.

للحظةٍ أخرى أحسستُ بالقهر يكاد يقتلني، ما هي كل هذه التفاصيل التي تشغلني وربّما لن أقدر على الاحتفاظ بها عندما يكون الموت أسرع منها إليّ؟
ولطالما الموتَ سيأتي مباغتاً سريعاً دونَ اتفاقٍ بيننا، سأذهبُ معه مجرّدة، بلا ذاكرة أو أوراق أو كتب أو أحبة أو أصدقاء أو هدايا أو أحلام. سأذهب معه وحيدةً خفيفة…

أصدقائي اللي استعاروا كتب مني، لما أموت مسامحتكم فيها، بس كمان ديروا بالكم كتير عليها، وابن عمي مكتبتي إن سلمت وما صارت ملك للحرب فهي الك.

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

Fragments from Gaza / Manal Miqdal

Writtten in Arabic by Manal Miqdal

Translated into English by Yasmine Haj

The situation is worse than you could imagine, the thing has nothing to do with courage or resilience or lack thereof. Last night was the toughest since the beginning of the war or the attack on Gaza. This time I didn’t cry – as is my habit – perhaps the continuous and violent sound that I heard prevented me from any reaction.

In the morning after the last attack the Zionist occupation airforce carried out over the city, I summoned my courage and started the process of collecting my personal belongings, including IDs, high school and university certificates, tokens of appreciation, gifts, what’s left of letters I’d received from my uncle in Israeli prisons, my mobile phone, laptop, and other things.

I took a good long look at my personal library, I must keep the smallest number possible; because it’s not easy to carry all these books when escaping, I decided to filter out the books signed by their authors. I felt a lump in my throat. I don’t want to lose my library for the second time like I did in the first war.

For another moment I felt crushed and like dying, what are all these details occupying my mind and which I probably wouldn’t be able to keep when death will be faster than they to me?

And death will always rush suddenly without previous agreement, I’ll go with it barren, without memory or papers or books or lovers or friends or gifts or dreams. I’ll go with it alone and light…

To my friends who borrowed some books from me, when I die you can have them, but also take good care of them, and cousin, if my library survives and doesn’t become property of the war, it’s yours.

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

Fragmentos de Gaza / Manal Miqdal

Writtten in Arabic by Manal Miqdal

Traducido al español por Shadi Rohana

No es lo que están imaginando. Pues lo que vivimos no tiene nada que ver con sentimientos vanos como coraje, orgullo, dignidad. La noche pasada era la más dura, pero aquella vez no lloré.

En la mañana, después del primer bombardeo de los aviones sionistas, agarré mis fuerzas y comencé a juntar mis cosas: documentos oficiales, mi título universitario y escolar, constancias, regalos, lo que se quedó de las cartas que me escribió mi tío (quien sigue preso en una cárcel israelí), mi celular, mi laptop…

Pero me quedé mirando a mi segunda biblioteca, pues la primera la perdí en la guerra pasada. ¿Qué hago con los libros? Son pesados, y sería difícil cargarlos cuando me toque correr. Entonces decidí quedarme con aquellos que llevan una dedicación de su autor.

De repente sentí rabia por mí misma; esos dolores que causan escozor y te pueden matar. Yo, pensando en mis cosas… Pero ¿y si la muerte me alcanza más rápido de lo que yo alcanzo mis cosas? La muerte me agarrará de sorpresa, sin avisar, y yo iré con ella sin memoria ni papeles ni libros, ni queridos, ni amigos, ni regalos, ni sueños… Me iré sola y ligera.

Posdata a mis amigos que tienen libros prestados míos: si me muero, quédense con ellos; son suyos.

Posdata a mi primo: Si no pasa nada a mi biblioteca, es tuya.

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


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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