Adania Shibli on Samira Azzam: ‘Out of Time’

Was there once a train whistling in Palestine? They called the security chief and my heart started to bang violently in my chest.  I don’t know how much time passed before my watch, then I, were cleared of all suspicions and allowed to leave. Afterwards, I was led into a room for a body search and, while one woman walked away with my shoes and belt to x-ray them, another stayed behind with my watch, which she held in her palm, contemplating it with great intent and devotion. When the first woman came back with the rest of my belongings, she hurried over to tell her that there was something very strange about my watch. This was repeated day after day, so that the young man no longer set the alarm. Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintLinkedInRedditTumblrWhatsAppPinterestTelegramPocketSkypeLike this:Like Loading… It moves fast as if wanting to shake off this other time from the dial, one second after the other, in order to catch up with the time in Palestine.  In the end, no matter where I am, my little watch leads me out of time, only to comfort me. Except for one text, “The Clock and the Man,” a short story by Samira Azzam, which the Censorship Bureau had found “harmless.” The story, published in 1963, is about a young man getting ready to turn in the night before his very first day at work. OUT OF TIME By Adania Shibli My little watch is the first to sense the change, going into and out of Palestine. On Gumroad, the book it as a 20% launch-week discount, set to end December 9. People are often amazed that it can tell me the time at all, being so tiny. It was not moving. You can find the book on Amazon (US, UK, Germany, Canada, Japan, UAE, etc.) and Gumroad. Rather, just as that old man turned from a human being into a watch in order for life to become bearable, so did my watch decide to turn from a watch into a human being.  So it is not unusual that, in Palestine, my watch often stops moving. In fact, it often moves faster than it should, to a point where it seems to lose track of time altogether. Paula Haydar, 2010) and We Are All Equally Far From Love (tr. It is also coming to other platforms and bookshops, as well as launch events in the new year. So where is it now, and why has it vanished?   The text engraved in my soul a deep yearning for all that had been, including the normal, the banal and the tragic, to such an extent that I could no longer accept the marginalized, minor life to which we’ve been exiled since 1948, when our existence turned into a “problem.” Against this story and the possible ways of existence it revealed to me, stands my little watch. When he opened it, he found an old man in front of him. * Adania Shibli was born in Palestine in 1974. Contrary to this malfunctioning in Palestine, my watch has not once stopped outside it. And my watch is more like that old man in Azzam’s story than a Swiss watch that its primary concern is to count time with precision. He had no clue who this man was and he did not get a chance to ask him, because the man turned and walked away, disappearing into the darkness. Then more time. They took me out of the line and began a long process of questioning and searches. Suddenly, two men and a woman appeared, a mix of police, security, and secret services. That nothing had happened. Her acclaimed Minor Detail appeared in Lissie Jaquette’s translation in 2020. Everything proceeded as usual in such situations: an exhaustive interrogation into the smallest details of my life and a thorough search of my luggage. M. Thanks to our supporters on Patreon and elsewhere for making this happen. Her first two novels appeared in English with Clockroot Books as Touch (tr. Or maybe it simply refuses to count the time that is seized from my life, time whose only purpose is to humiliate me and drive me to despair; a suspension of time that is intended for the obstruction of oppression. It goes back to primary school, during one of the Arabic literature classes. Paul Starkey, 2012). After a few minutes, she looked at her watch, then back at mine. He held onto its door, but his hand betrayed him and he slipped, falling under the wheels of the train.  At first glance, this story might seem simple and safe, especially to the censor’s eyes. No sooner did the alarm go off the next morning than there came a knocking at his front door. I myself would have shared their doubts had I not found out about watches and their secret powers, as I did. Were there once Palestinian employees who commuted to work by train? She was awarded the Young Writer’s Award by the A. Qattan Foundation in 2002 and 2004. Was there a train station? The curriculum back then was, and still is, subject to the approval of the Israeli Censorship Bureau, which allowed teaching texts from various Arab countries, bar Palestine, fearing that they would contain references or even hints that could raise the pupils’ awareness of the Palestine Question. And again at her watch, then at mine. Was there ever once a normal life in Palestine? It suddenly goes into a coma, unable to count time. On my last visit there, I set it, as always, to local time the minute the plane touched down at Lydd Airport. Perhaps my watch was trying to comfort me by making me believe that all that search and delay had lasted zero minutes. I handed my passport over to the police officer and she took her time looking at it. To mark the release, we’ll be celebrating Samira Azzam and her work all this week on ArabLit. It was only several months later that he discovered who the old man was, after a colleague told him this man went knocking on the doors of all the employees in the company. I headed toward passport control. Adania Shibli on Samira Azzam: ‘Out of Time’ December 6, 2022December 4, 2022 by mlynxqualey This week, we are launching our first community-supported translation: Ranya Abdelrahman’s translation of thirty-one selected stories by the great cult-classic Palestinian writer Samira Azzam. On the way there I notice it on my wrist, counting the time down to the second, waiting for the moment when the wheels of the plane touch the runway, and I set it to local time which it counts with an infinite familiarity. Then, as soon as I leave Palestine, my watch advances listlessly, taking its time parting with the local time there, which only vanishes when the plane touches down elsewhere. He sets his alarm clock for four in the morning so as to catch the train in time to get to work. It is never late when counting every second of this other time. He would wake them up in order for them not to be late for their trains and meet the same fate as his own son. It may seem to some that I’m slightly exaggerating what I’m saying about my watch, especially as it is a very tiny watch. Hence, Palestinian literature was considered unlawful, if not taboo, similar to pornography. There weren’t many travelers and the line I stood in was proceeding quickly. It was ten-to-two in the afternoon. Five minutes had passed according to her watch, whereas according to mine, none had. His son had arrived late at the station one morning, just as the train was leaving. But it contributed to shaping my consciousness regarding Palestine as no other text I have ever read has done. But I discovered when I reached home that it was nine o’clock in the evening, while my watch was still pointing to ten-to-two in the afternoon.

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