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Syria

Six Proposals for Participation in a Conversation about Bread
By Rasha Abbas
“That’s what we get for supporting Communism: standing in line for this black loaf.”
Translated from Arabic by Alice Guthrie
Beyond Representation: Life Writing by Women in Arabic
By Sawad Hussain & Nariman Youssef
One cannot write about real-life experiences from the place of the “I” without laying claim to a place in the world.
A Note from the Editors: January 2020
By the Editors of Words Without Borders
A note from the editors on the occasion of our Rojava poetry feature.
[Only the madman has stayed behind in the city]
By Ciwan Nebî
What does he have to fear?
Translated from Kurdish (Kurmanji) by Shook & Zêdan Xelef
Multilingual
Beyond the Headlines: Poetry from Rojava
By Shook
These poems display the health and vitality of a literature that has already proved to be a potent medium for self-expression, a grounds for linguistic experimentation, and an important declaration of autonomy itself.
[I needed to wake up at 3:00 in the morning to make it to work]
By Ciwan Qado
I proceeded with caution / Like a marble inching toward the line
Translated from Kurdish (Kurmanji) by Shook & Zêdan Xelef
Multilingual
[I speak to]
By Cihan Hesen
silence sullen-faced fate reaches my ears
Translated from Kurdish (Kurmanji) by Shook & Zêdan Xelef
Multilingual
Joyful, Painful, Surreal: Life As a Parent
By Karen M. Phillips
The intensity of the parent-child relationship, with its high emotional stakes, life-and-death responsibility, and inescapable physical proximity, makes for powerful stories.
The World at Home: US Writing in Translation
By Susan Harris
This issue is not a departure but a continuation.
Seven Stories
By Osama Alomar
A strange thing began to happen in the country.
Translated from Arabic by C.J. Collins
“It’s Us and Them”: Writing from and about Divided Countries
By Susan Harris
In the current environment of relentless political strife . . . debate deteriorates into name-calling; partisans morph into zealots, complex issues are reduced to binary terms, and hostility seethes just beneath the surface.
A Doctor from Homs
By Wendy Pearlman
Most massacres occurred after Friday prayers.
Graphic Novels at WWB: The First Ten Years
By Susan Harris
The narrative threads that weave through the last ten years tell a tale in themselves.
I Will Leave, without Lying Down on the Dewy Grass Even Once
By Noor Dakerli
I just want to know one thing: how would it feel to hold your hand?
Translated from Arabic by Alice Guthrie
Falling Down Politely, or How to Use Up All Six Bullets Instead of Playing Russian Roulette
By Rasha Abbas
You pour water onto the severed head once again.
Translated from Arabic by Alice Guthrie
Multilingual
The Art of Expressing One’s Agony: An Interview with M. Raouf Bachir
By Alice Guthrie
In short, the ongoing war in Syria is not a revolution.
I Am a Refugee
By Mohamed Raouf Bachir
When they torched my poems they burned me along with them
Translated from Arabic by Thomas Aplin
Multilingual
A Bedtime Story for Eid
By Zaher Omareen
He said they’d taken Omar away naked.
Translated from Arabic by Alice Guthrie
The Liberated Voice: Three Writers from Syria
By Alice Guthrie
Their work is deeply entangled with the extreme politics of the context in which they’ve grown up and lived.
Exile is Born at This Moment
By Osama Esber
When blood is exiled, / nothing binds it to the race.
Translated from Arabic by the author
Exiled in Europe: An Interview with Three Women Writers
By Olivia Snaije
“Sometimes I feel like I’m a medium who brings ghosts back from the past.”
Bag of the Nation
By Osama Alomar
The surprise shook me like an earthquake.
Translated from Arabic by C.J. Collins
Multilingual
Fragile States: Artwork from freeDimensional
By freeDimensional
A visual exploration of the physical and psychological experiences of persecution and forced displacement.
Multimedia
Damascus, What Are You Doing to Me?
By Nizar Qabbani
How do the gardens of Sham transform me?
Translated from Arabic by Shareah Taleghani
The Other Body / The Other Home
By Adonis
Migration is another name for exile made gentler by the alphabet.
Translated from Arabic by Ammiel Alcalay & Kamal Boullata