Friday, October 24, 2008

Who I write for and why in English...

I've been asked recently by one reader why I write in English and who I write for. That is a very good question and one which deserves an answer. With regards to the second part of the question, I write mainly for myself, that is, I wish to put down somewhere my reflections and thoughts on what is happening in the Arab world. This amazing part of humanity has offered, and continues to offer, so much that is meaningful to the world. In spite of continuous aggression and occupation, physically and intellectually, it has confounded the most concerted efforts to subdue it. It is vibrant, diverse and individualist in a true sense, unlike the monotone consumer societies of empire. So when I write, I am writing to discover what it means to come from this world, hence the raw nature of some of my posts. The further I write, the more solid the articulation of myself and my identity becomes, as if the text and I have some bizarre relationship that allows us to grow together.

That leaves us with my choice of language, which is English as some of you may or may not have noticed by now. My English is slightly better than my Arabic because the schools I was educated in believed that the West is superior to our Arab societies (they didn't realise it but it was taken for granted that this was the case). So they thought they were doing me a favour by making me more employable and integrable in today's "global" culture. They were right to some extent, my current abode is in the heart of this "global" culture, better known as the heart of capitalism to some. I like to call it "The Little Satan" due to it's relationship with the United States of America. That I can write any good Arabic at all is only due to a conscious effort on my part over the past few years and I may decide to write in it one day, but currently my context is outside the Arab world and I write best about what I know best. I am planning to move back up there one day and when that happens I will most probably write in Arabic and with as much vigour.

10 comments:

yaman said...

I like your new layout... congratulations!!

I have one issue (I'm sure you're not surprised!). You said, "It is vibrant, diverse and individualist in a true sense, unlike the monotone consumer societies of empire." I am not sure what you mean by this. I think this statement applies equally true for people both in the heart of empire and at its periphery. There are, if you look closely, many such examples of resistant societies and subcultures in the West-- you'll just have to look outside the bourgeoisie, which you'll have to do in the East anyway as well!

Maysaloon said...

Hi Yaman,
Thanks for the compliment. As for your comment, I'm sure that if I was living, working and studying in Israel, I would constantly feel the pressure to add the caveat "apart from the nice people I know" all Israeli society is unjust. We both know where we live, we know what these countries are doing to people in our part of the world, the least we can do is acknowledge the problem. If these subcultures and resistant societies don't agree with what is being done then the onus is on them to effect change, my concern is with occupation.

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

So you're a fake Arab... this is rich. your whole blog is one huge sham. Nice. You can justify it all you want, to have a blog where the "emphases" is on ARAB and it's not in Arabic. You might as well be... oh wait, you are Syrian. My bad. I expect ANYTHING from you guys.

Maysaloon said...

ABiT,
I had a look at your profile and other blogs, what are you twelve? Go play somewhere else.

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Lasto adri *Blue* said...

"My English is slightly better than my Arabic because the schools I was educated in believed that the West is superior to our Arab societies"

Frankly speaking, I stopped in front of this phrase for sometime ya Maysaloon. I thought you will give stronger reason why you blog in English. Like, you want to form a bridge, or communicate with people from the west or something.. but then I saw the above reason you gave as a way to throw the burden on someone else..

Of course you are free to choose the language you like. I personally feel more comfortable expressing myself in English than Arabic sometimes (due to school also). And that's mainly why I started blogging in English, when my Arabic was just as horrible as any KG student..
But no matter what, one should keep trying :-)

Maysaloon said...

Ya Lasto,
I assure you that I have no interest in forming a bridge with West or East! We all have different reasons for keeping these blogs and mine is just a series of comments and observations on things that I see or hear about. That you are factually wrong with saying that I "throw the burden on someone else" would be an understatement. I have no concern with where a burden, if any, does lie. All I can say is that I ask myself different questions.

:)

Hoss a Boss said...

It's odd, the negative nature of some of these comments. Then again, if one was completely ignoring the content and going for what he already thinks he knows, I can see how that could be. You maintain a good blog with honest motives and I think it is a cheap shot for someone to call your identity "fake" - since when is that a judgement another human can make?

Maysaloon said...

Hoss a Boss,
Welcome to you and to all our sa3aleek brethren :)

Thank you for your thoughtful comments and I hope to be a frequent future visitor to your very interesting blog on poetry. Thank you for making yourself known...

annie said...

Maysaloon, I LOVE your blog; it is a fantastic reference. When I have time and if you do not mind I would like to translate some of your posts in French. Best wishes