Tiger and Clay Syria fragments by Rana Abdul Fattah

النمر والطينشظايا سوريا

يتحدى الكتاب وبجرأة كافة الإتفاقيات. ها هي رنا عبد الفتّاح تتحدث رنا بوحشيةٍ صادقة معنا؛ فهذه الحرب تُبعِد الأبرياء عن الأحبة وتقذفهم إلى الرحمة المزعومة للبيروقراطية. بينما تنتظر مجبرةً قرارَ موظفي الهجرة ذوي الوجوه الجامدة فيما إذا ستُصنف على أنها من بني آدم تأبى أن تكون شاكرة (لهذا الجميل). لم يبقَ للخجل مكانٌ ولا لشفقة الذات بل بقيت الكراهية لكن مع الحبّ والولع.

أيّ شخص يودّ أن يفهم مشاعر وأفكار المهاجر عليه أن يقرأ هذا الكتاب

ملخص من پنلوپي مكلاكلان؛ ترجمة ميّ العيسى


Review by Penelope Maclachlan

The cover of this book by Mohammed Sida and Abdul Malek Abdul Fattah is an abstract work evoking the fears of the migrant.

The book comprises a harmony of poetry and prose and evokes feelings from rebellious rage to nostalgia, love of family and friends and sexual passion. There are frequent references to schizophrenia, reflecting the author’s journeys and sojourns from place to place, her yearning to settle and her inability to do so. Circumstances – war in particular – force her to wander and she and her loved ones remain in contact through  sporadic meetings and with the help  of technology. A rich variety of heritages informs her imagination: Greek, Armenian, Turkish, Kurdish and Syrian. Incomprehension she encounters frequently. Frustration is evident in a poem opening:

I saw my face in the mirror. She  seeks to communicate but what meets her is incomprehension. As a refugee, she says, … you are a slave waiting for someone or some state to give you rights and make you happy with what is given. She rejects  the assumption that she must be grateful for whatever is bestowed or imposed on her.

The yearning for freedom is constant, and beautifully expressed in:

I am so happy migrating birds and animals do not have visa issues and fences in the sky.         

Rana shows a fierce contempt for hypocrisy in revealing there are limits to her compassion for others:

I am so skilled in  social apologies that I don’t give a fuck whether  they believe me or not.

She never makes excuses for refusing to give others what they want.

A valedictory mood is expressed when the “you” Rana addresses seems to be an entire race and culture rather than one person or even one country:

It was a beautiful encounter, but not strong enough to last.

A more erotic mood is evoked in I smelt your jumper yesterday. In They French-kiss passionately and twist tongues the erotic blends with roughness and violence. A similarly physical rawness is evoked in We are the children of the fucking-hard in the darkness. 

Amidst the ferocity in Rana’s poetry and prose we come across, like an oasis, a celebration of peace and quiet:

One of the greatest things in life is to feel at home with someone, and I do with you.

Fury turned against herself, those surrounding her and her lover is expressed in:

Here in this apartment in Galata, the land of foreigners, hippies, drunkards, transit migrants, white Turks, working class Kurds, drug dealers and Gulf tourists, I will take you.

Rana seems to join voices with her brother when she quotes him:

There are memories for which we can live more than a lifetime.

This seems to suggest a cultural heritage shared by those who in their fierce pride seek to recover the identity torn from them.

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