From the Editors
He stands erect on top his new, shiny yellow tank, like a solid mass of khaki. Slung across his broad chest, resting in his hands is his military-issue rifle. His whole being tense and serious, yet from his watchful pose he turns slowly with a smile on his boyish face, happy to see the crowds of people around him and the persistent movement in the square. The soldier with the innocent face is younger than me by years. The young and the middle-aged, the elderly and mothers ...Keep Reading »
Friday, January 28, 2011, Day of Gathering Giza Square, despite its vastness, feels tight and constricted. No wonder. First, they corralled up all the sidewalks with four-foot iron rails that seemed sinister and repugnant in our eyes. Then they painted the crumbling facades of the old buildings “Sahara yellow.” No wonder the sight of it made people’s chests tighten and constrict. But now the square now boasts a new underpass with brightly-lit stairs and a smooth marble ...Keep Reading »
Tahrir Square—at the corner of Qasr al-Nil Street. In front of the Tourism and Travel Company, Tahrir Koshary restaurant, and the little store that sells tamarind blossoms. Between the sidewalk and the thick iron guardrail designed to block the flow of pedestrians across the square. Where the sidewalk meets the street—the red, green and black curbstones. The sidewalk tiles come in different shapes and sizes—wide, medium, and large. In front of the flower shop, in the shape ...Keep Reading »
— Translated from the Arabic by Amira Hanafi Dawn on Saturday, January 29th, the world around us a vacuum, an emptiness steeped in solitude and silence after yesterday’s volcano. Yesterday—day, evening, and night—the day of resurrection, everywhere ablaze, the voice of horror rising, and the pointless beast of death, all across the country. And today dawns, Ash Saturday. The sky above us is still black, without a punctuation of light—darkness in the alleys, the ...Keep Reading »
[This piece is from Hamdy El-Gazzar's current writing project entitled, Our Revolution: Stories To Fit in the Palm of Your Hand] The lady is old. Elderly, timeworn. Nearly 92. Long years old. One of the wonders of the world… Look — do you see her small, round dark-brown pita loaf of a face? Can you see how wrinkled it is? The creases are deep, the lines run north and south, east and west. Notice what tens of thousands of nights and days have done to those lines? The ...Keep Reading »
Hamdy El-Gazzar is an Egyptian writer, and one of the 39 young Arab writers included in the Beirut 39 Project. His first novel, Sihr Aswad (Dar Merit, 2005) won the prestigious Sawaris Award, and was subsequently translated by Humphrey Davies (Black Magic, AUC Press, 2007). His second novel, Ladhdhat Sirriyya (Secret Pleasures) was published by Dar al-Dar in 2008. He is currently working on a third novel.