Arab Life Blog

Not Random Journal Entries

December 23rd: I looked up تقوقع in google translate. I got “squat.” Terrible! They ought to do something about that tool. But I suppose the state of us is a kind of emotional and mental squat. Some obviously squatting way more than others in this country. Around us. In Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq.

“In Search of Fathers” Part 2

An afternoon in 1972, a quiet conversation between two old Palestinian warriors in a living room filled with books. The two had not seen each other in decades, one presumes. Once protagonists on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees, now they fidgeted awkwardly in their seats as they chatted.

“In Search of Fathers” Part 1

I was barely into the first few pages of Raja Shehadeh’s We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I, when a 24-year-old inscription rushed back to mind.

In 1998, my friend Christopher Dickey (1951-2020), an author and then Newsweek’s Middle East Editor, came visiting in Beirut, bearing with him the advance uncorrected reader’s proof of Summer of Deliverance. Chris was the son of the very famous (and no less infamous) James Dickey, the poet and novelist. The bestseller Deliverance, which came out in 1970, was his debut novel.

Pining for Palestine

It happened when I started watching Losing Alice, an Israeli series that debuted on Apple TV in 2020. By the end of the first two episodes, I noticed a pining kind of curiosity carrying me through the show.

Letters Between Friends: Part Two

In this post, I shall meander simply because I want to.
My first time in Cairo was in 1974. On the drive from the airport to the hotel, I remember looking out of the window and thinking to myself, I’ve been here before. Home!

Letters Between Friends. Part One

Writing This Arab Life was the first time I sat down to make prose of my emotions.
And only when I finished the manuscript did it occur to me that it revealed itself through juxtapositions, the most poignant among them that of Amman and Beirut;

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