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Under a Different Light: Writing by Tunisian Women

December 2017

Image: Houda Ghorbel, “Push with me . . . my voice is coiled.” Photo by Wadi Mhiri

Image: Houda Ghorbel, “Push with me . . . my voice is coiled.” Photo by Wadi Mhiri.

This month we present post-Arab Spring writing from Tunisian women. Tunisian women have long enjoyed more freedom than those in other parts of the region, and the progress made at the time of the revolution in many ways reflects the high degree of involvement of Tunisian women in all areas of public life. Here writers in both French and Arabic observe and report on their country before and after the Arab Spring. Emna Belhaj Yahia reinterprets the headscarf. Emna Rmili goes inside the mind of a conflicted policeman patrolling a protest. Azza Filali finds the price of vanity goes up after the revolution. Noura Bensaad observes a placid street scene turned tragic. And in poetry, Amina Saïd channels the future, while Ines Abassi blends past and present. Guest editor Cécile Oumhani provides an introduction.

We Take the Present in Our Own Hands: Writing by Tunisian Women
By Cécile Oumhani
What do Tunisian women write today?
Game of Ribbons
By Emna Belhaj Yahia
“I don’t like to be lumped in with every woman who wears a scarf on her head.”
Translated from French by Emma Ramadan
from “Clairvoyant in the City of the Blind”
By Amina Saïd
I hope and despair at the same moment
Translated from French by Marilyn Hacker
The Killer
By Emna Rmili
My finger is pressing the trigger.
Translated from Arabic by Alice Guthrie
The Restless
By Azza Filali
Skin has a memory.
Translated from French by Ros Schwartz
Two Poems
By Ines Abassi
I / am stolen splendor on a darkened street
Translated from Arabic by Kareem James Abu-Zeid
The Stranger and the Old Lady
By Noura Bensaad
In her eyes there smiles the child she once was.
Translated from French by Roland Glasser