Friday Finds: Khaled Khalifa’s ‘Living in a Void’

Khaled Khalifa’s “The Refugee – Living in a Void,” translated by Jonathan Wright, will appear as part of the new anthology Refugees Worldwide:

Khalifa’s essay, one of two translated from the Arabic in the forthcoming Refugees Worldwide, ran in The Guardian. It opens:

My sister, whom I haven’t seen for more than two years, told me she was going to cross the sea in a rubber dinghy. She hung up, not wanting to hear what I thought. She merely said something profound and sentimental and entrusted her three children to my care in the event that she drowned. A few minutes later I tried to call the unfamiliar Turkish number back, but the phone had been turned off. Hundreds of images from our childhood flooded my memory. It’s not easy to say goodbye to half a century of your life and wait for someone you love to drown. My fingers and toes felt cold and my head empty, and I didn’t feel able to argue anyway. What can one offer a woman who has lost her home and everything she owns and, not wanting to lose her children too, carried them off into exile to seek a safe haven in Turkey? Things are not easy for a woman like her there. She looks like millions of other Syrian women and does not have any special skills. All that’s left is the hope of asylum, even if it requires crossing the sea in a rubber dinghy. It’s as if she’s trying to tell me something I know already – that the sea is Syrians’ only hope.

You can read the entire essay on The Guardian.

Nearly 200 readers have now signed up for a copy of Refugees Worldwide, which is being issued through Ragpicker Press. You can pre-order a copy at the Ragpicker website. The book will be published on September 7 and proceeds will be donated to Refugees International.

According to editor-translator Jethro Soutar, the other essays to be included are:

Exile is My Identity by Nora Bossong

Permanent Transit by Artem Chapeye

Dreams Deferred: Living in Limbo in Dadaab by Abdi Latif Dahir

Anthropophagists Still by Andréa del Fuego

Sudanese Southerners – Uprooted and Dispersed by Stella Gaitano

Refugees and migrants at the Nador Border by Najat El Hachmi

Where Should the Hazaras Go? by Mohammed Hanif

All That Was Familiar by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

Belize: the Salvadoran Promised Land by Juan José Martínez d’Aubuisson

Nour’s Eyes by Amanda Michalopoulou

Land of Heroes: Lithuania’s very own refugee crisis by Nils Mohl

Under the Tokyo Skytree – The Tale of a Refugee from Congo by Masatsugu Ono

Fragments From the Life of the Spectacular Victim by Ece Temelkuran

Those interested in a copy can find out more here.