• Books: Bury the Chains by Adam Hochschild, Endless War: Hidden Functions of the "war on terror" by David Keen, Capital Vol. 1, Tin Drum by Günter Grass, What is Islam? by Shahab Ahmed, Desiring Arabs by Joseph Massad, Spies, Soldiers and Statesmen by Hazem Kandil, La Condition Humaine by André Malraux, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Imagined Community by Benedict Anderson, Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said, The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon, The Richness of Life by Stephen Jay Gould, Children of the Alley by Naguib Mahfouz, The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell, Noli me Tangere by José Rizal, Age of Extremes by Eric Hobsbawm, ذهنية التحريم لصادق جلال العظم, Karl Marx by Francis Wheen, وليمة لأعشاب البحر لحيدر حيدر, Candide by Voltaire, النزعات المادية في الفلسفة العربية الإسلامية لحسين مروة, Listen Little Man by Wilhelm Reich ..
  • Films: Alexanderplatz by Rainer Fassbinder, Clockwork Orange, Apocalypse Now, The Battle of Algiers, films by P. P. Passolini, Persepolis, Midnight Express, 1984, Papillion, Gangs of New York, Sophie Scholl, Life of Brian, Ivan the Terrble, Battleship Potemkine ...

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Arabic literature

I haven't read Zaat, but it souns a good novel. 

"Zaat by Sonallah Ibrahim

Sonallah was born in Cairo, became a Marxist in his youth, and spent several years in prison during the 1960s for his views. His novel Zaat tells the tale of modern Egypt though the eyes of its heroine, Zaat, during the periods of the three presidents Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak. It goes from the optimism of the early years following the revolution to the full-blown capitalisation and corruption of Egypt in the 1980s and 1990s of the last century.
Expertly crafted, each of the chapters narrating Zaat’s life, marriage, work and social life is interspersed with a series of newspaper clippings and photograph captions detailing the political and economic events of the day – corruption cases, financial scandals, torture, foreign debt – that graphically lay open the banal thuggery of the rulers and the greed and stupidity of the nouveau-riche.
Poignant, yet darkly hilarious at times, the novel chronicles the struggles of the decent, honest and long-suffering Zaat as she navigates the vicissitudes of contemporary life, modernisation, consumerism and the ever-present mirage of new wealth.
The novel provides a wonderful insight into what happened to the Arab world over the second half of the 20th century, and where all the dreams went. It is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand why the Arab Spring came about and why, in many cases, it soon turned into a dark winter." (the British Council)
I recommend another good novel:  Banquet for the Seaweeds by Haydar Haydar, but, unfortunately, it is not translated to English yet.

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This is funny, but it also refletcs how deep the level of political degeneration has reached.