New Releases: ‘Translating Egypt’s Revolution’ and ‘Now That We Have Tasted Hope’

Translating Egypt’s Revolution: The Language of Tahrired. Samia Mehrez, is now available from AUC Press. Although it’s available for sale online and in AUCP bookstores, its official launch will come on June 9 (7 p.m., Oriental Hall, AUC Downtown Campus). The launch will be paired with a a photo exhibit by Michael Kennedy, who took the shot on the book’s cover.

According to the AUCP:

This unique interdisciplinary collective project is the culmination of research and translation work conducted by AUC students of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds who continue to witness Egypt’s ongoing revolution. This historic event has produced an unprecedented proliferation of political and cultural documents and materials, whether written, oral, or visual. … The contributors to this volume have selectively translated chants, banners, jokes, poems, and interviews, as well as presidential speeches and military communiqués.

Also out now is a another new collection that documents revolution, edited by Daniel Gumbiner and introduced by translator-author-academic Elliott Colla. It brings together all sorts of documentary and creative texts from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain,  Yemen and Syria, and is named for Khaled Mattawa’s beautiful poem “Now That We Have Tasted Hope.”

This collection includes both classic staples (al-Chebbi, Fouad Negm), columns (Alaa al-Aswany’s important one on the murder of Khaled Saeed), novel excerpts (Kamel Riahi’s Gorilla), statements, speeches, the text of Wael Ghonim’s DreamTV interview and other important historical documents.

From Colla’s introduction, a reminder for the present moment:

Yet, it has to be stated that this pessimism is unfair, and it is unfair because it is so premature. Each revolution is only now in its initial stages. And each uprising has accomplished real changes, changes that will not be erased. As one militant in Cairo put it to me: “We made a revolution here. The revolution has not started.”

More on that when I’ve really read and digested it. If you’d like to beat me to it, go on and buy a copy here.

You can also read an excerpt from the collection, by Rami Jarrah: “I was in Ommayad Mosque, it was a Friday, and me and a friend who had news of a large protest taking place in that mosque appointed during Friday prayers decided we would take part. I mainly wanted to get some filming done. While entering the mosque, it was obvious that there was a really high security presence, men in plainclothes were on the side of the mosque holding black batons, which made me think twice about continuing, but I wasn’t going to turn around now.” Keep reading.