4 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2018
    1. From “to witness,” we get shahed, the one who witnesses; mashhad, the spectacle or the scene, but also shaheed, martyr; istishhad, to be martyred, to die for a cause. As if the act of bearing witness, followed to the end of one of its branches, snaps under the weight of what is seen, and you fall to your death. As if to die for a cause in Arabic is to bear witness to something until it annihilates the self.

      I feel like this is a simple example of how amazingly detailed and exquisite the Arabic language is. The way she used the root to reach that translation is literary smart and mind-blowing.

    2. Qazeefeh became shell. Msalaheen became militiamen, gunmen. Hajez became checkpoint. Malja’ became shelter. But the new words were strangely light.

      Can you think of other words in Arabic that have a different impact when translated to English? Vice versa? What does it mean that certain words don't exist at all in one language or another, or have a different strength in one vs another?

    3. To witness, however, feels too passive a word. It is an action that is at its heart, inaction.

      what does it mean when we witness and do nothing but witness?

    4. Who is the reader I’m addressing when I am writing in English? It is not my mother tongue, though I feel almost at home in it, though I love it as if it were my own. Like any language, I know it is a tool, as available to raw beauty as it is to hegemonic violence. And I know the only way to redeem it for all of us who it marginalizes is to fight our way out of those margins and insist on being part of the text. But my English is a war wound. It is a result of the roughshod amputation of my mother tongue. Because we were forced, or rather, allowed the privilege to flee at an age when I was first learning to use my voice on the page.

      this quote resonates very strongly with me... love/hate relationship with the English language and what my fluency in it means vs my native language... "amputation of my mother tongue"