Adania ShibliPalestineWriting2013
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True from a distance it appears like a 15th century castle, suggesting a state of decadence and idleness, Civitella Ranieri is in fact a factory. It is a factory of imagination, creativity and concern, in which I myself have been a laborer of words. I would choose words, join them together, then sharpen them if needed, everyday from morning until the evening. And I should add, it had been a hard, but joyful labor in this case.


On East-West Dialogue
(An excerpt)
Translated by Suneela Mubayi


I follow the movements of the car's wipers, engrossed in wiping the rain off the front windshield, as we make our way to a literary festival being held in a large Villa on the banks of a lake near Berlin. During the festival, my face begins to hurt from so much smiling. The only two breaks from smiling are when I eat a sausage and when a journalist asks me if I, as an Arab woman, am facing death threats from my family.


I find myself unable to resist the idea, and begin to think about who in my family might kill me. It cannot possibly be my father, since he is eternally busy and will not have time even to listen to the idea. My mother only cares about the garden, but in her free time she will surely mourn my death. My eldest brother will not be able to leave to Germany; it is now the almond harvesting season and he is the only one left in the family who can supervise this operation… My sisters are not to be counted, as they completely reject the use of violent methods. Other than that, I have an uncle, whom I have not seen for fifteen years, and whose children I have not seen for twenty, all are living in Houston, Texas. None of them will even be able to recognise me in order to carry out the murder. They would have killed the director of the German Academic Exchange Service, the DAAD, who is standing a metre away from me, especially as she is not blonde and her hair is curly like mine. I have another uncle who is very sweet and I get the feeling that he will not do it. There remain his three sons. As for the eldest, I categorically refuse to let him get involved in my murder, as he has the worst political views imaginable. I prefer the younger one. He is still a university student, and it will most likely be possible for him to carry out the task. Maybe the son of my brother, who, truth to tell, is my most beloved family member, will come with him. He is an even better candidate than my cousin for the task of kil