Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic

New review: Susan Muaddi Darraj’s ‘A Curious Land’

The Electronic Intifada, 13th June 2016 A Curious Land begins in 1916 with a group of Bedouin refugees fleeing the violence and famine which wreaked havoc across the Levant during … Continue reading

June 15, 2016 · 1 Comment

New review: Yusif Sayigh memoirs

The Electronic Intifada, 7th June 2016 Yusif Sayigh’s life story, narrated and edited by his wife Rosemary (herself an eminent anthropologist and activist), is a significant addition to this list. … Continue reading

June 15, 2016 · 4 Comments

New review: Radwa Ashour’s ‘The Woman from Tantoura’

Electronic Intifada, 8th July 2014 Ruqayya’s story — told partly by her in old age — is the tale of one young girl, her loves, family, marriage, work, children and … Continue reading

July 14, 2014 · Leave a comment

New review: Khaled Mattawa on Mahmoud Darwish

Electronic Intifada, 1st July 2014 This isn’t a biography. Although one would be fascinating, Darwish always insisted that his poetry should represent his life story. So this book doesn’t feature … Continue reading

July 2, 2014 · Leave a comment

New review: ‘A World Not Ours’

ReOrient, 5th August 2013 Bassem – or ‘Abu Iyad’, as he is so called – is Fleifel’s best friend, nicknamed after the Fatah military commander assassinated by Israeli commandos in … Continue reading

August 5, 2013 · Leave a comment

Marcel Khalife at the Barbican

Marcel Khalife’s style of big-act, traditional Arabic music performance isn’t particularly my kind of thing, but when I saw he was performing in London I figured that he’s the kind … Continue reading

July 2, 2013 · 2 Comments

Khalil Hawi

Khalil Hawi, Lebanese poet 1925-82, who committed suicide in response to the Israeli invasion of his country: We are from Beirut: alas, we were born With borrowed faces and with … Continue reading

June 21, 2013 · Leave a comment

New article: ‘I Exist’ photo exhibition reviewed

Electronic Intifada, 19th June 2013 In a very different set of images, Jerusalem-based photographer Tanya Habjouqa documents the 2009 Arab Bodybuilding Championships in Amman, Jordan: dubbed the “Gaza Martyrs Tournament” … Continue reading

June 20, 2013 · Leave a comment

New article: Memoirs of an Early Arab Feminist reviewed

Electronic Intifada, 31st May 2013 With the exception of her observations on women’s changing roles, Anbara’s memories are interesting and important not for what they reveal about home life through … Continue reading

May 31, 2013 · Leave a comment

‘Human rights’: how meaningless can this phrase become?

A really important article – and a bitter expose of the ironies of Western ‘human rights’ work – came out last night from Electronic Intifada. By Lebanese journalist and fixer … Continue reading

May 18, 2013 · Leave a comment

Elias Khoury on memory, war and revolution

The first thing I discovered is that we live in an oral society that doesn’t write things down… my fear has been that our present and our past were subject … Continue reading

April 10, 2013 · Leave a comment

Academic privilege

From Wedded to the Land: Gender, Boundaries and Nationalism in Crisis, by Mary Layoun (Duke University Press, 2001), page 7, talking about the author’s relationships with Greek and Lebanese refugee … Continue reading

April 4, 2013 · Leave a comment

New article: ‘Poets of Protest’ reviewed

Electronic Intifada, 28th February 2013 “All revolutions begin as poetry. Poetry and protest are inseparable twins,” says Yehia Jaber. He should know. A former fighter whose memories include patrolling the … Continue reading

February 28, 2013 · Leave a comment

New article: exhibition review – Darat al-Funun

Electronic Intifada, 9th July 2012 In the picturesque surroundings of the Darat al Funun gallery in downtown Amman, Jordan, artist Jumana Abboud stands squeezing lemon after lemon by hand, using … Continue reading

July 10, 2012 · Leave a comment