Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Monday, December 4, 2023

Secrets Stroll the City’s Streets - A Short Story by Ahmed Jaber- Translated by Adam Talib 2021 - Included in The Book of Ramallah- A City in Short Fiction- edited and introduced by Maya Abu Al-Hayat

 The City of Ramallah, population about 70,000, is located in the West Bank area of Palestine, has become a focal point of world wide media attention. It is under the control of Isreal. This Anthology was published prior to the initiation of the current conflict. In the very informative elegant introduction Maya Abu Al-Hayat tells us the literary history of the city going back to the 16th century up to 2021. She has selected a quite diverse range of stories but each one is informed by the actions of isreali in the city.

One thing that has happened for 1000s of years is young men armed against much weaker opposition often turn into petty tyrants and sadists. This is magnified when those in authority dehumanise the enemy.

Today's story, " Stroll the Streets" by Ahmed Jaber, four pages, is narrated in a very creative fashion. The city of Ramallah is speaking to the reader as well as a street sweeper going about his day. Maybe it is in the mind of the sweeper caused by his great love for Ramallah.  I found it gratifying to follow him on his rounds.  He has a limp and we learn why: 

""He examines the empty streets, which remind him of the First and Second Intifadas. These streets were full of rocks and planks and the remains of burnt tyres back then. He remembers the days and nights he’d spent fighting to keep the Israeli Army Jeeps from entering the city. He thinks about everything he did for me, the city he loves. How he defended me as a resistance fighter and how a bullet in his upper thigh had caused the limp he has now, how he refused to leave me to go work in the Gulf, and how these days he wakes up earlier than most of his neighbours in order to get me ready to meet them like a son changing places with his mother."

Ahmad Jaber holds a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering and is a winner of the Abdul Qattan Foundation Award for Young Writer 2017 for his story collection Mr. Azraq in the Cinema. He has published stories in many local websites and newspapers.

Mel Ulm 

1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

That sounds very moving. I like the idea of allowing a city to take the role of main character.