As I have already written about a Ukrainian author I thought why not an Egyptian one. Sulaiman Fayyadh‘s Voices(أصوات) which I read in Arabic is one of those short novels which you read in one go and which opens up several topics.
An Egyptian man, Hamed, who left his village at the age of 10 and became rich in Paris, decided to go back home 30 years later for a short visit. And he took his French wife Simone with him. Fayyadh uses the voices of many of the story characters (Hamed, his mother, his brother, his brother’s wife, a young high school student, the mayor and the police officer) to relate the events that happened before and during the visit. Each giving a different perspective and completing the story.
Voices ends in an unexpected way with Simone‘s death by the hands of the village’s women. إن كيدهن عظيم :) And as I don’t want to entirely spoil the story, I won’t tell you how the woman died despite the fact this was one of the major points Fayyadh wanted to address. Click here [ar] if you want to know more.
Besides its end, the story deals with topics, which have been and are still being treated in novels, articles and movies, related to the East/West relationship and what some would call the clash (or dialogue) of civilisations. Continue reading →
I watched once a debate with the Algerian caricaturist Dilem. The debate was on a French channel and I remember I was struck by the difference in style, technics and construction between Dilem and the other French guests. And though Dilem had some good arguments, I had the feeling he was just unable to express them and make his point.
I am of course not talking of the way we Algerians talk, using our hands and all the body language stuff. I don’t think this is bad per se and it is probably related to what we call the mediterranean specificity. I am referring to our inability to express ourselves and also to handle a free debate. We lack this culture of dialogue where you are allowed and even encouraged to express yourselves, are listened to and then are given a feedback.
It seems like facing a counter-argument is felt like a personal attack which makes us lose control, and the debate would soon turn into a dialogue of deaf.
This is not specific to the Algerians and the same comment can be applied on the other Arabs. Just watch the many debates on the Arab news channels and you’ll get an idea of what I mean.