"Mosaic of Love" is a playful, wise and poignant book of poems about love and the mystery of life. With a unique perspective and distinct voice, Laura Thompson explores the meaning of love beginning with family, progressing to the garden of flowering lovers and culminating on the mystical note of universal love. Be a traveler on this pilgrimage of poems and seek for yourself the way of love.
Ibrahim, a freelance journalist from Arabia, has always been deeply aware of his rich Arabian heritage and history but has become disillusioned and disheartened by the seemingly incessant onslaught of Western suspicion, abuse and adverse media attention thrust upon his people. To Ibrahim and his family, it seems as if Western paranoia and prejudice against the Arab has become set in stone. It is to escape this climate of hostility that Ibrahim decides to take his wife, two sons and three daughters on a holiday away from the heat of the Middle Eastern summer and visit an old journalist friend, Mark, a staunch Englishman who has retired to New Zealand.There, they could assimilate a new culture, meet new people with new ideas, and see a land seldom visited by their fellow Arabs and which has therefore remained untouched by the long tentacles of the Islamic extremist. In the weeks that follow, Ibrahim discusses with his old friend the ticklish questions of Western misconception, misunderstanding and the perceived inequalities of his race. Together they are able to dispel the myths and identify the areas of ignorance that prevail in the West and which do so much damage to the image of the Arab. Above all, Ibrahim is able to nurture within his young teenage offspring the seeds of a brighter future, one within which peace and reconciliation between the worlds of Islam and the West are of paramount importance.
Two young people from foreign lands meet in a shop in Cambridge: Brani Tawo, a Kurdish political refugee from Turkey, and Feruzeh, who had fled to the UK from revolutionary Iran. Slowly, their love begins to grow, fed by stories, a shared love of literature and a subtle recognition of their mutual displacement. Brani Tawo narrates vignettes from his family history, vivid tales that evoke old legends: shepherds struck by lightning, soldiers returning home with war trauma, blood feuds that destroy families, bears mauling villagers in search of stolen cubs and a photographer who carries news to the villages in the form of the portraits he takes. These dark, inherited memories, combined with his own melancholy nature and chronic insomnia, weigh on Brani Tawo, who often seeks contemplative solace in graveyards. Over time, however, drawn by Feruzeh's quiet radiance, he begins to reach a freer place within himself. Feruzeh also harbours grim family secrets, and when she suddenly returns to Iran to attend to an emergency, Brani Tawo knows what he must do - Sins and Innocents is a warm, intimate love story redolent with the (often harsh) music of Central Anatolian village society as well as the Cambridge sophistication of Wittgenstein, Brooke, Grantchester Meadows, colleges, churches and cafes.
Maddy's husband, the poet Michael Donaghy, died suddenly at the age of fifty, leaving her to bring up their young son alone. After the shock of his unexpected death, the funeral and public mourning of this well-loved and respected writer, Maddy had to help her son deal with the loss of his father and come to terms herself with being a lone parent. In this extraordinary account, she describes how grief and bereavement had re-opened the wounds of her past - the loneliness and emotional neglect of her childhood - which must be acknowledged and healed if she was to truly find her way back into life. She learned that there are gifts in pain and tragedy, if you have the courage to look for them. And she came to understand just what the incredible love of her husband had brought her, and how hard it was to lose that. Written with warmth and humour as well as searing honesty, this book takes an unflinching look at both what it means to grieve, and what it means to love.
There is something extraordinary about Cambridge philosophy student Gian Paolo Friedrich. From the strange visions that people have in his presence, to his uncanny ability to touch the hearts of total strangers, Gian Paolo is not like other people. Unnervingly enigmatic, he claims to be 'newer'; to experience feelings that nobody else has ever felt before. Is he a superior being, or is he psychotic? Psychiatrist Joy Small is treating Gian Paolo, and diagnoses him with early-stage psychosis. But as the events around her become extraordinary, she starts to question this initial diagnosis and wonders if Gian Paolo actually does have some kind of divine power. The question of who he really is becomes an obsession for her. Until she finds the answer, she won't know whether to publish the anti- Christian creed he claims will save mankind, or whether to bury his ideas quietly in a file. If he is a Homo superior, his deconstruction of Christianity is a revelation, but if he's psychotic, her Catholic beliefs are safe. Through this novel the author presents his alternative philosophy on creation and the evolution of humankind. The possibility that Gian Paolo could be the second coming of Christ creates space for a series of taboo-shattering satires, such as the analogy between Gian Paolo's relationship with his father and that of Man to God. The novel challenges the biblical vision of heaven on earth, as Gian Paolo reveals his wish that science would isolate the extraordinary elements of DNA that he believes he possesses and use them to engineer generations of super-beings, who will in turn make the world into paradise.
Taken from the quiet sanctuary of a convent school, where she works as a maid, Aisha is thrown back into the chaotic world of her parents' home in the Tal Ezza'tar refugee camp when the Lebanese civil war begins. From then on she is caught up in a series of tragedies, including the continuous bombardment of the camp by the Phalangists and the subsequent invasion and massacres within the settlement. Aisha's family and friends are torn apart by events beyond their control and although she finds love and marries, amid such violence the decision to start her own family becomes harder still.Set within one of the most bloody conflicts of modern times, this heart-wrenching story shows how women's experience of war is particularly cruel as they confront the dilemma of bringing a new life into a war-zone. Based on seven years of meticulous research, Liana Badr has created an epic novel around the life of one girl. Its accurate historical setting adds force and poignancy. Turning a simple love story into a complex portrayal of Palestinian history, Liana Badr has triumphantly re-told a nation's history for its women.
What happened to a former Miss Egypt when she took to wearing the veil under her pilot's cap? Who are the young people posting videos of policemen torturing crime suspects? Where do Coptic Christians celebrate the Holy Family's journey to Egypt? Why is President Hosni Mubarak still ruling Egypt, virtually uncontested, after more than 25 years in power? In "Hold on to Your Veil, Fatima!", author Sanna Negus answers these questions and more, taking the reader on a journey into 21st-century Egypt. As a reporter, Ms Negus witnessed Egypt's political opening after the Iraq war, the subsequent quelling of the Cairo Spring, and the growing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood. In addition to politics, the author discusses the thorny issue of relations between the sexes, listens to Copts' grievances about the worsening relations between Muslims and Christians, and reveals an appalling human rights record. On the brighter side, she also visits oriental dancers and authors who defy censorship. While Egyptians joke about the longevity of their president, there is no doubt that Egypt is a nation waiting for a new, uncertain dawn. "Hold on to Your Veil, Fatima!" relies heavily on primary sources, on the words and experiences of extraordinary Egyptian men and women, as well as the author's personal encounters as a Western woman. Intimate stories are woven together with historical narratives and news events. This is the other side of Egypt, an intriguing modern nation a long way removed from the pyramids and temples visited by most visitors to the country.
A great deal has been written over the years addressing the Palestine-Israel conflict, and the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. However, few works on the subject really present the personal aspect: What is it like to be a refugee? What propels a decent human being to take up arms, to become a freedom fighter or a terrorist? This book tells the remarkable story of one such refugee, following his journey from childhood in the Nahr El Bared Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, becoming a member of the PLO, through to eventual emigration, a new life as an engineer in the United States, and a 'return' trip to historic Palestine. Running parallel to the personal narrative, the book also documents the story of Nahr El Bared itself: the story of a refugee camp that grew from an initial clump of muddy UN tents to become a vibrant trading centre in north Lebanon, before its eventual destruction at the hands of the Lebanese army as they battled with militants from the Fatah Al Islam group in the summer of 2007. Throughout it all, the spirit of the remarkable people of the camp shines through, and the book provides a moving testament to how refugees in Lebanon have managed to persist in their struggle for their right to return, as well as survive socially, economically and politically despite more than sixty years of dispossession, war and repression.
In the ancient Egyptian religion, Seth is the evil god who out of jealousy slays his brother Osiris, the good god of agriculture, to seize the throne. Seth is, however, also the god of the desert and therefore a benevolent champion of desert dwellers like the traditionally nomadic Kel Tamasheq, better known as the Tuareg. In "The Seven Veils of Seth", the world-renowned, Libyan, Tuareg author Ibrahim al-Koni draws on the tension between these two opposing visions of Seth to create a novel that also provides a vivid account of daily life in a Tuareg oasis. Isan, the novel's protagonist, is either Seth himself or a latter-day avatar. A desert-wandering seer and proponent of desert life, he settles for an extended stay in a fertile oasis. If Jack Frost, the personification of the arrival of winter, were to visit a tropical rain forest, the results might be similarly disastrous.Not surprisingly, since this is a novel by Ibrahim al-Koni, infanticide, uxoricide, serial adultery, betrayal, metamorphosis, murder by a proxy animal, ordinary murder, and a life-threatening chase through the desert all figure in the plot, although the novel is also an existential reflection on the purpose of human life. Ibrahim al-Koni typically layers allusions in his works as if he were an artist adding a suggestion of depth to a painting by applying extra washes. Tuareg folklore, Egyptian mythology, Russian literature, and medieval European thought elbow each other for room on the page. One might expect a novel called "The Seven Veils of Seth" to be a heavy-handed allegory. Instead, the reader is left wondering. The truth is elusive, a mirage pulsing at the horizon.
In the Oxfordshire countryside, a student walks into a classroom and starts shooting. Nate Dillingham, friends with shooter and victims alike, is the sole survivor and only witness. Easily led and eager to please, his recollections weave around others' hopes, until he loses track of what really happened that day. Unable to resume his normal life after he leaves hospital, Nate decides to travel instead of going to university, hoping to escape, to avoid the memories. After eight evasive years on the road, he returns to Oxford, meets Leona and plunges into a world of candour and desire. But his defences are deteriorating, and Leona shares too much of his past...This chilling contemporary thriller is an unsettling tale of passion and guilt, which takes the reader on an edgy journey into twenty-first century morality.
"Might Over Right" provides a critical account of one of the most remarkable stories in the twenty century's history of international relations - the history of how in the relatively short time of 30 years, Zionist leaders, managed, with the help of Western supporters but mainly the British, to wrestle a country away from its inhabitants, and in the process to profoundly affect the course of international relations and fundamentally transform the history of the Middle East. Extensively documented, relying mostly on Zionist, British, and Israeli sources, and sweeping in scope, the book makes a crucial contribution to the growing effort to challenge the simplistic and reductive accounts in media and scholarship in the West - one of the principal causes of the perpetuation of the conflict."Might Over Right" goes beyond the Israeli new historians' accounts that focus on specific aspects of the Zionist-Palestinian confrontation. It also goes beyond the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 to critically analyze the latest dimensions of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and of the continued Israeli-Palestinian confrontation.
In Irish folk legend, the hero, mystic and warrior-king, Fionn MacCumhaill acquired his great knowledge by tasting a sacred salmon from the Boyne River. Similarly, it is hoped that "Traditional Irish Cooking" will inspire a tantalizing taste for both Ireland and its celebrated cuisine. "Traditional Irish Cooking" is not just an ordinary book of recipes, but also gives an insight into the Irish way of life. Containing around 100 recipes and 21 sauce recipes, it includes both traditional and classic dishes, as well as several 'nouvelle Irish cuisine' recipes, endeavoring to combine the best of local ingredients in a more exotic and imaginative manner than that of classic country cuisine.Each of these recipes is accompanied by an anecdote to give the reader a flavor of Irish life: vivid descriptions of unfamiliar ingredients; quotes on food; restaurant and pub descriptions; local points of interest connected with food; short literary extracts; potted biographies of well-known Irish characters; and details on stout, porter, ale cider and whiskey. This incredibly comprehensive and informative book will appeal to every reader, from the vegetarian to the most avid carnivore, and from the casual snack-maker to the professional chef, with most being quick, easy and simple to prepare, and each recipe having a step-by-step guide to preparation.
Ina'am Atalla introduces us to the exotic flavours and colours of Lebanese cuisine using an abundance of wholesome ingredients, combined with fresh herbs and subtle spices, to make delicious and healthy dishes. This book is the product of her wealth of experience and her desire to dispel the complexities and mysteries surrounding Middle Eastern cookery by using simple techniques and easily available ingredients. With her obvious enthusiasm, the author inspires the reader to attempt a variety of easy-to-follow recipes, from the simplest soup to the more complicated main course, and from traditional recipes such as tabbouleh and kibbeh to the more unusual and creative variations that have been developed by her for the menu at her restaurant. Your level of experience is immaterial: supplemented by beautiful colour photography, Ina'am's anecdotes and tips for the cook create the illusion that this is a personal cookery lesson between author and reader, while the book as a whole remains simply a pleasure to read.
First published in 1960, "Kings and Camels" is a straightforward account of how an American went to work in Saudi Arabia and came home to America to realize how little the average American appreciated the strategic importance of the area and, more crucially still, how little he understood the people in the area. Butler presents his material in the form of an informal account of his personal experiences in the Middle East, both while he lived there, working for the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO), and as a successful lecturer and writer who has returned to the area often.The book goes behind the scenes in the Arab world, and into private audience with the legendary Ibn Saud. It explains Islam, the religion of the Arabs. It introduces the reader to the desert Bedouin, and the Arab of the cities. It focuses on human interest, on the Americans who lived and worked in Saudi Arabia. Above all, the book's emphasis is on the cultivation of understanding between the American and Arab peoples. It points out how vital such understanding is to Saudi Arabia, to the Arabs themselves, and to Americans.
Thoroughly revised in the light of the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent climate of fear and hostility towards Muslims, this new edition of the acclaimed "Unfolding Islam" sets out to present Islam to non-Muslim readers, and to describe for the general reader - whether Muslim or not - how Islam has unfolded over the course of time, and how it continues to do so. Set in the context of the geography and history of what may be called the super-continent of Afro-Eurasia, the book centres on the Koran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions, showing how later developments are rooted there, right down to questions of contemporary relevance such as the difference between Sunni Muslims and Shiites, Sufis and literalists, reformists and 'fundamentalists'.Though the book is written with the non-specialist in mind, specialists will find new contributions to such topics as the first writing down of the Koran, jihad (holy war) and Islamic attitudes to our environment. Seen as a whole, the story of the unfolding of Islam shows how it has achieved its special balance of constancy and flexibility. The controlling position of the Prophet, the unique authority of the Koran and the strength of the Muslim family give the religion its enduring central core.
Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ichmad Hamid struggles with the knowledge that he can do nothing to save his friends and family. Living on Occupied land, his entire village operates in constant fear of losing their homes, jobs and belongings. But more importantly, they fear losing each other. On Ichmad's twelfth birthday, that fear becomes reality. With his father imprisoned, his family's home and possessions confiscated, and his siblings quickly succumbing to hatred in the face of conflict. Ichmad begins an inspiring journey using his intellect to save his poor and dying family. In doing so he reclaims a love for others that was lost through a childhood rife with violence, and discovers a new hope for the future.
Legend has it that Damascus once had 365 hammams or 'Turkish baths': one for each day of the year. Originally part of an ancient Roman tradition, hammams were absorbed by Islam to such an extent that many became almost annexes to nearby mosques. For centuries, hammams were an integral part of community life, with some 50 hammams surviving in Damascus until the 1950s. Since then, however, with the onslaught of modernization programmes and home bathrooms, many have been demolished; fewer than 20 Damascene working hammams survive today. In "Hammaming in the Sham", Richard Boggs travels the length and breadth of modern Syria, documenting the traditions of bathing in Damascus, Aleppo and elsewhere, and his encounters with Syrians as they bathe. In his portrayal of life in the hammams he reveals how these ancient institutions cater for both body and soul, and through his conversations with the bathers within, he provides insights into the grass roots of contemporary Syrian society. Approximately 100 colour photographs accompany the text, portraying the traditional neighbourhoods of Damascus and Aleppo, and the almost religious feel of the hammams. The author's intimate portraits of the baths' employees and bathers show a unique side of Syria rarely exposed to the outside world.
"Once Upon a Time in Jerusalem" tells the saga of a Palestinian family living in Jerusalem during the British mandate, and its fate in the diaspora following the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The story is told by two voices: a mother, who was a child in Jerusalem in the 1930s, and her daughter, who comments on her mother's narrative. The real hero of the narrative, however, is the family home in Old Jerusalem, which was built in the 15th century and which still stands today. Within its walls lived the various members of the extended family whose stories the narrative reveals: parents, children, stepmothers, stepsisters, aunts and uncles, nieces and cousins. This is no idealized, nostalgic narrative of perfect characters or an idyllic past, but a truthful rendition of family life under occupation, in a holy city that was conservative to the extreme. Against a backdrop of violence, much social history is revealed as an authoritarian father, a submissive mother, brothers who were resistance fighters, and an imaginative child struggled to lead a normal life among enemies. That became impossible in 1948, when the narrator, by then a young girl studying in Beirut, realized she could not go home. She traveled to Cairo, where she had to start a new life under difficult conditions, and reconcile herself to the idea of exile. Narrated in a terse, matter-of-fact tone, "Once Upon a Time in Jerusalem" is a bildungsroman in which the child is initiated into loss and despair, and a life about which little is known. The book shows a city of the 1930s from a new perspective: a cosmopolitan Jerusalem where people from all nations and faiths worshiped, married and lived together, until such co-existence came to an end and a new order was enforced.
On the eve of her fortieth birthday Egyptian academic, Professor Hanaa, finds herself alone and unloved. For twenty years she has battled with an impossible love for an unattainable colleague, and has become outcast in a society where family and friends mean everything. Her life is organised into endless routines, and her emotions are hidden behind a facade of stern, but joyless professionalism. The facade begins to crumble, however, when her birthday brings with it the realisation that she is about to turn into an embittered, forty-year-old spinster. Never one to admit defeat, Hanaa determines she will lose her virginity before her birthday, and sets her sights on Khalid, her teaching assistant. An earnest, hardworking and devout young man, Khalid is an unlikely accomplice; however Hanaa's powers of persuasion know no bounds. What ensues is a lively, witty, often sly commentary on gender and power relationships in both academia and the Arab world-a 'campus' novel of a wholly different bent.
A Land without Jasmine is a sexy, satirical detective story about the sudden disappearance of a young female student from Yemen's Sanaa University. Each chapter is narrated by a different character beginning with Jasmine herself. The mystery surrounding her disappearance comes into clearer focus with each self-serving and idiosyncratic account provided by an acquaintance, family member, or detective. As the details surrounding her sudden disappearance emerge the mystery deepens. Sexual depravity, honour, obsession; the motives are numerous and the suspects plentiful. It seems that everyone wants a piece of the charming young student. Family, friends, fellow students and nosey neighbours are quick to make their own judgements on the case, but the truth may be far stranger than anyone anticipates. This short novel has echoes of both the Sherlock Holmes stories and The Catcher in the Rye, as in addition to the mystery and a murder, the novel contains candid discussions of coming of age in a land of sexual repression. Wajdi al-Ahdal is a satirical author with a fresh and provocative voice and an excellent eye for telling the details of his world.
Emile Lahood served in various posts in the military, including commander-in-chief of the army from 1989 to 1998. In 1998 he had the constitution amended to allow the army commander-in-chief to run for office within three years of holding that post, and was subsequently elected as President of Lebanon. Lahood's popularity, political neutrality and strong ties with Syria and the United States made him well suited for the Lebanese presidency, an office traditionally occupied by a Christian. Lahood actively stifled opposition to the Syrian military presence in Lebanon. He also oversaw Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000. At the conclusion of Lahood's extended term in 2007, the National Assembly could not agree on a successor, and he was replaced by an acting president, Fouad Siniora Years of Resistance is a testimony of Lahood's mandate during his nine years in office. The material for the book is mostly taken from the weekly meetings that the author, Karim Pakradouni, and Lahood had during his time in office. The reader is placed at the heart of Lebanese politics, as Pakradouni reveals the conflicts, reform attempts, liberation and political assassinations that shaped Lahood's reign. This book brings to light new details of important documents and events, and describes several key Lebanese and Arab figures in a way that leads to better comprehension of the interminable crisis and wars which took place in Lebanon and in the Middle East. This book is a summary of the Lebanese political situation where hopes are interspersed with fear.
Youssef, Vaqar's eldest son, died in the same house he was born in; the very house that became his after his father's murder. No one looked into his father's murder, and no one looked into Youssef's death either, which was perhaps for the best. The saga of Vaqar and his son had drawn to a close with the second murder. The saga was quite familiar to the family elders but they wouldn't recount it to their children; they wouldn't even talk about it with each other. It was a secret, a secret that had been hushed up to protect the family's good name. But discovery of the wedding invitation cards and those letters had confused everyone. No one could believe that Youssef had kept the invites for a wedding that had never taken place or the letters from a young girl now long forgotten. That young girl was Rana, who now, many years later, is struggling with dementia while she tries with all her might to hold on to the memory of Youssef, the love of her life. A love that was doomed since the beginning, yet it is the only thing that helps Rana keep going. The elders are gone now and Rana is the only one who can tell the story, and the only remaining keeper of that long lost world of love, loss, and family secrets. This book is an engaging love story set in contemporary Tehran. It won the prestigious Parvin Etesami literary award in Iran in 2009, and is available in translation for the first time.
Tearing up the Silk Road is an irreverent travelogue that details a journey along the ancient trade routes from China to Istanbul, through Central Asia, Iran and the Caucasus. As Tom Coote struggles through the often arbitrary borders and bureaucracies of China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Armenia, Georgia and Turkey, it becomes apparent that the next generation will see themselves in a very different light to their predecessors. New forms of identity are emerging, founded more upon shared cultural preferences and aspirations, than on the remnants of tribal allegiance. While rushing through from East to West, Tom Coote meets, befriends and argues with an epic range of characters; from soldiers and monks to pilgrims, travellers and modern day silk-road traders. All are striving for something more and most dream of being somewhere else. By bus, train and battered car - through deserts, open plains and mountain ranges - Tom finds himself again and again at the front line of a desperate war for hearts and minds. Through rapidly expanding megacities, to ancient ruins, and far more recently created wastelands, it is the West that is winning the souls while the East grows ever stronger. The real clash of civilisations, however, seems set to be not between the East and the West, but between the few who have so much, and the masses now uniting to demand so much more.
This important book is a biographical account of Prophet Muhammad's life, written in narrative style. It differs from other books on the subject of the Prophet Muhammad, as it touches on the Sufic aspects of his life. In this book, Farzana Moon sets out to portray the true spirit of Islam as a religion of peace and reconciliation, as practiced by the Prophet, and to correct contemporary misconceptions about this. The reader travels with Muhammad through his life and shares his most intense experiences: his love for his wife Khadijah, his passion for establishing peace in Arabia, his visions and ecstatic experiences, and his character as one of the most successful military commanders, leaders and social reformers of all time.