An Interview with Walid Alwanni, a Palestinian journalist and creative writer born and raised in Damascus, Syria
A poem by Fanny Howe
In a world where everyone is looking for someone to blame, I had just left a space where people said, “Be strong. We will weather this, too.”
“I don’t for a minute think we’re defined by our passports. We are so much larger than we have language for. It’s the writer’s job to keep reminding us of this. The vocabulary of politics can easily become a trap. Its structure is by nature full of false dichotomies, simplistic definitions, and distorted oppositions.”
Now in 2017, after eighteen years since my father and my brother drove to Baaneh to buy an illegal VHS Player, after all the years of struggle to access news channels, blogs, and filtered websites in Iran, I sense the threat of dictatorship once again in America; in a different shape, with different purposes.
I tried to see myself as they saw me. A woman dressed like an astronaut. A rip in the fabric of normalcy.
The sad Paterson goes out the next morning and sits on a wooden bench, in front of the waterfall where he eats his lunch on weekdays. He stares at the waterfall, and the miracle happens–in Jarmuschian way–a Japanese tourist comes and sits next to Paterson, and when he leaves, he pulls a blank notebook out of his shoulder bag and hands it to Paterson as a friendly gesture.
In the Turkey of my youth, during the violent years, when the strife between the left and right had reached its peak, and when the propagandists and recruiters had staked out even grade schools, I had a confrontation with someone who was handing out fliers like candies at my school gate. Without even looking at the flier, I tore it up and flung it at him.