ArabLit’s ongoing series on Teaching with Arabic Literature in Translation continues with a conversation between ArabLit’s editor and Shadi Rohana, who teaches “Literatura árabe moderna” and “Literatura árabe moderna II: literatura testimonial femenina” at El Colegio de Mexico. A list of texts is at the bottom:
What was gained in starting with Borges’ “Los traductores de las mil y una noches,” Gerhardt’s The Art of Story-Telling: A Literary Study of the Thousand and One Nights, and Muhsin Mahdi’s introducción a la edición crítica de Las mil noches y una noche? What sort of platform or foundation did you want to give students from which to leap into the texts?
Shadi Rohana: There is a general idea in Mexico —a very popular one that one can find even among writers, prominent intellectuals, translators, students, academics and publishers— that The Thousand Nights and One Night is at the heart of the Arab culture and its most representative literary expression. Jorge Luis Borges, however, in his very borgiano manner, amuses himself with some very fantastic facts in his “Los traductores de las 1001 Noches” (“The translators of the 1001 Nights“)” essay:
— The first translation of the Nights into a European language —into French, by Antoine Galland— was published in the early 18th century;
— The first Arabic language book-versions of the Nights to have appeared in Arabic were printed in the 19th century.
In other words, in a way, the translation came out before the original. Moreover, Borges notes that some of the Nights’ most famous stories, such as those of Aladdin, Sinbad and Ali Baba, may not have any Arabic-language origin, and the number of nights the Arabic manuscripts had, the one which Galland translated from, didn’t reach 1001. So where did all these other stories come from? And how did they appear later in Arabic, in print, 100 years after?
There is a lot more to say about this, of course, and interesting scholarly works are being written (see, for example, Arafat A. Razzaque’s note on Ajam) However, I felt the urgency, at least at the beginning, to clear the Nights, or the “idea” of the Nights, out of the way, before we read modern and contemporary Arabic literature in translation.
In the first course session we also examined the Iraqi scholar Muhsin Mahdi’s introduction to his edition of the Nights —the first, any maybe only? critical edition in Arabic based on archival manuscripts, published in Leiden in 1984— whose nights, if I remember correctly, don’t exceed 300. It’s no coincidence that Borges inserted his essay on the Nights’ translators in a book he called Historia de la eternidad (History of Eternity) (published in Buenos Aires in 1936); the number “1001” may have implicated an idea of eternity, not the exact number of nights Shahrazad spent in telling Shahrayar her stories.
Is there some discussion of the relationship here to the national-colonial project—an “ownership” of the 1001 Nights (one of a number of manuscripts in this genre)— because they weren’t published in the correct format, and thus they are the legitimate property of Europe (although of course many of these stories were, in turn, borrowed from other traditions)? Does this allow you to ask “whose story is it”?
SR: It’s complicated!
I remember reading an essay by Anton Shammas on translating Emile Habibi to Hebrew. While he was translating one of Habibi’s novels —can’t remember which at the moment—, he stumbles upon a story from the Nights the narrator is telling. Shammas starts looking for the story in his editions of the Nights, so he can do a proper translation of the segment to Hebrew. But, oh surprise, to no avail. He writes Habibi a fax to ask him if he would be kind enough to provide the number of night and edition he took the story from, and Habibi’s answer was: I read it in Tolstoy! So go figure which translation and in what language Tolstoy read the Nights, and go figure which translation and what language Habibi read Tolstoy.
I here tend to agree with Juan Goytisolo, who defined culture, any culture, as the sum of influences coming from other cultures.
And why, from there, to Sinan Antoon’s Ya Maryam (or Fragmentos de Baghdad in the Spanish translation)?
SR: Because I wanted the students to immediately delve into the contemporary Baghdad (as opposed to the literary imagination of Al-Rashid’s Abbasid one).
There were other reasons as well:
The Spanish translation of Sinan’s يا مريم (Ya Maryam) is a good one, translated by María Luz Comendador and published in Madrid by Turner Libros in 2004. As opposed to many other Arabic-Spanish translations —including of “canonical” modern literary works— this translation doesn’t orientalize the Arabic origin; it doesn’t charge everything with a religious (mainly Islamic) meaning, whether through word choosing, transliteration or an awfully excessive number of footnotes.
Also, I knew for a fact that Sinan is the kind of writer who is interested in dialogue with his readers. Actually, when Ya Maryam came out in Spanish, I wrote Sinan and asked him to send few copies to Mexico (Arabic literature is almost inexistent in Mexico’s libraries and bookstores), and he did so immediately. So I knew he would also be responsive about talking with the students. And so, on the second week of the course, the students were able to speak directly, through a computer screen, with a contemporary Arab writer and intellectual about his writing, literature and translation.
How did being able to talk to the author change their understanding of the book?
SR: It made them raise questions, it was just the beginning. For example, the novel’s called, in Arabic, Ya Maryam, while in Spanish it appears as Fragmentos de Bagdad (Bagdad Fragments). The change, of course, came from the publisher, not the author or the translator. Can one accept the idea of an Arab author writing a novel called Ave María —as it would be called in Spanish— in Arabic, for an Arab readership, and have it be respected in translation?
Also: I’m so glad to hear you chose the text because you thought it was well-translated. Do you think the orientalization and the scholasticization of Arabic literature in Spanish translation are two of its largest weaknesses?
SR: I think it’s a trend that is widespread when it comes to anything Arabic, not only in the “world centers” like the United States and Europe, but in the world’s edge as well. In the case of Latin America, the situation right now is that contemporary and modern Arabic literature is almost inexistent, and the idea of “Arabic literature” evokes either nothing, or, lesser worse, only the Nights, Quran and philosophy, or, in a better scenario, the Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz. But when translations or approaches to modern Arabic literature do take place here —and they do take place sporadically— they come out interesting, refreshing and original. Sometimes, having a flexible context, or no context at all, can render unpredictably wonderful results.
The translations we read are good translations in general, but they all come from Spain. I hope this situation change. I’m not suggesting that one’s nationality can determine one’s artistic talents, or really anything about a person; but today, History notwithstanding, or precisely because of History, Spain is just another Spanish-speaking country. I hope Arab writers and publishers will become more aware of that. I sometimes feel that the idea according to which Latin America and its languages are only branches of the Spanish of Spain still persists.
How do you think literary scholars, authors, critics, publishers, translators, and others can forge more links between Arab-majority countries and Latin America? What do you think these relationships and networks can bring?
SR: Many things!
First, a better understanding of Latin American literature and, consequently, and engagement between this literature and the Arab one. Every time a new book from Latin American is translated into Arabic, or an author is being presented in Arabic, I read the mantra: “This so and so author challenges/is breaking up with the magical realism tradition in Latin American literature and arts and is defying its founding fathers” and so on. Really? Was there a moment in history when Latin American literature was dominated by magical realism? The continent is a whole world of literatures and languages, and it cannot be defined by one current, certainly not by magical realism, at any moment of its history.
Second, decentralizing literature: there is this idea that translations should be done in a “neutral” uniform language. But, is any language really neutral? By creating the artifact of a “written” language, whether in Spanish or Arabic, does it automatically become neutral? Is this act of creation even possible? Why not have Ma’an Abu Taleb’s characters in Amman speak like real people do in Mexico City? Or a poem by Mona Kareem inserted in the tradition of how poetry is being written right now in Nicaragua?
Why this before going back to Edward Said’s Orientalismo and Abu Lughod’s Do Muslim Women Need Saving?
SR: Said’s Orientalism is a very powerful book, and the act of reading it occurs in a variety of ways among people. It is an illuminating book, but I’ve also seen how —including with myself— the reading of such a powerful discourse can perversely encourage self-censorship and negative judgements, as well as generalizations of others; how calling something, or someone, “orientalist,” can become an excuse to shut people off, or prevent one from expressing his or her own ideas. I wanted the students’ first encounter with an Arabic literary work (and for all students, without exception, Sinan’s Ya Maryam was the first Arabic literary work they read through translation) to happen through their own eyes, prejudice and what we call today “cultural baggage.”
Although surely their own eyes are informed by other powerful organizing narratives they’ve heard about Arabs, Iraq, Islam, and so on?
SR: Oh yes. The idea is to become aware of it, and then maybe do something about it.
You write, in your objectivo general, roughly, “To guide us through these issues, we grapple not only with Arab thinkers and authors, but also with Spanish-language authors who have thought through the Arabic origins of their own culture, language, and identity, such as Jorge Luis Borges, Luce López-Baralt, and Juan Goytisolo.” Interesting! What led you to this choice? How do their texts interact with those translated from Arabic? I cannot think of anyone who has done anything similar in English, although I suppose it wouldn’t work the same way in English.
SR: When you teach Arabic literature in Latin Americans and to Spanish-speaking students, I found it impossible to be indifferent to the history and mutual influences the two languages share. According to the Mexican philologist Antonio Alatorre, Spanish has at least 4,000 arabismos, that is, Arabic words that were completely integrated into Spanish and are today as proper to the language and to its speakers as any other word of Latin or other origin. And not just words, but also concepts and metaphors (half-jokingly, half-seriously, Juan Goytisolo once noted how the fact that both Arabic and Spanish speakers refer to men’s testicle as “eggs” is a sign of the intimate relation the two languages have!).
Goytisolo (who was from Spain) and López-Baralt (who is from Puerto Rico) both deconstruct the myth of the “Pure, Chivalrous and Catholic” Spain that was “recovered” following the so-called “Reconquest” from Al-Andalus; of the Spain that immediately after getting rid of its Muslims and Jews waged its discoveries and conquests of América. Their reading introduces a historical dimension to the act of reading Arabic literature from Latin America and in Spanish today, and helps to start thinking about how Spanish-language/Hispanic “orientalism” maybe works a little bit differently.
This might also have interesting reverberations in the English-language classroom, where Medieval Europe is often imagined as a uniformly White, hermetically sealed space.
SR: It’s an idea of Europe that has unfortunately gained so much ground.
Did you have any other Skype guests?
SR: In addition to Sinan Antoon at the beginning of the course, we had beautiful Skype conversation, toward the end of the semester, with the Guatemalan author Rodrigo Rey Rosa. We were reading Muhammad Shukri’s الخبز الحافي (which Paul Bowles translated into English as For Bread Alone) and some of his short stories, almost all of which happen in Tangier.
Rodrigo lived in Tangier, attended Bowles’ creative writing workshop, was translated by Bowles into English, he himself translated Bowles into Spanish, and actually met Shukri on an occasion two. So while we read Shukri in Spanish translation, we also read Rodrigo’s novel on Tangier, La orilla africana, in Spanish, and a short story by Bowles, in English. Later, we had a conversation with Rodrigo about his experience as a young Latin American writer in an Arab country, writing about it, and the world of Tangerine letters.
We also had special guests in the class, people I managed to grab and invite to come and talk to the students during their visit to Mexico doing other things, like Hamid Dabashi from Columbia University (who spoked about Palestinian cinema) and the Palestinian literary translator Ghadeer Abu-Sneineh, who lives in Nicaragua.
I’m really engaged by how you emphasize not Arabic literature qua Arabic literature but its relationships with other traditions. Do you know if Rodrigo’s novel on Tangier has been translated to Arabic or French, and whether it’s read in Morocco?
SR: I only know of two texts by Rey Rosa that were translated into Arabic: An essay called “Bowls y yo” (أنا وبولز), which was translated by Ahmed Abdallawi and which appeared in the Literary Tangier magazine in 2010; and the short story “La peor parte” (أسوأ ما في الأمر), which I translated for Specimen.
I know his work has been widely translated into English and French.
Are there texts you would remove from this syllabus, that didn’t engage the students as well as you’d hoped?
SR: I would remove Emile Habibi’s El Pesomptimista (المتشائل). This masterpiece is still awaiting a proper translation to Spanish, as well as to other languages.
Why did you make a conscious effort to include women writers in Part 2?
SR: Because Part 1 was almost entirely men writers. I wasn’t really trying to follow any canon at the beginning; I was sort of improvising, looking for the available translations and books we can get the library to buy in order to have them permanently in the library, whether for current students or in the future. Las semester, when I started giving the course at El Colegio de México, it was the first time that I know of that a course on modern Arabic literature was given in Mexico. I had to start from scratch, and very few books were available. We were only going to read books in Spanish, so we ended up reading only men for two reasons: 1. the availability of translations the library was able to obtain, ordered from overseas; and 2. my own ignorance of Arab women writers and masculine practice in reading.
For this reasons, together with the students, we decided that the following semester will entirely be dedicated to women writers translated into Spanish and English. The latter are much more available and easier to bring here, given the proximity of the United States, and the fact that there is a greater variety of Arab women writers from different periods and countries that are translated to English, as opposed to Spanish. Needless to say, in the case of most of the women writers we are reading right now, I am reading them for the first time together with the students.
In terms of the bibliography and designing the course, I had to resort to friends for advise. Amal Eqeiq from Williams College in the US, who also teaches literature there, guided me in preparing the course, and we actually just had a Skype session with her, in Spanish, from our classroom in Mexico City right at the beginning of this semester.
You decided this together with your students, excellent. Huda Fakhreddine seemed relatively satisfied with women writers being largely absent from her syllabus, indicating that the most important thing was aesthetic merit (& arguing, reasonably, that women shouldn’t be given a “sympathetic” reason). Why was it important to you (or your students?) to include women’s writing?
SR: I agree with what Huda says. One shouldn’t read women writers in a condescending manner. When this happens, one would also start looking for specific ways of how women should write beforehand, and only for women writing in a “womanly” manner, while deeming others as “non-womanly” and so on. This happens a lot, not just with women.
However, considerations for reading, such as the motives for writing, can vary. They can be related to gender, sexuality, class, rural vs. urban, politics and ideology, history, etc. Here, in this course, considerations weren’t aesthetic to begin with, but to see how individual women, through literature, were thinking about the issues that came up during last semester’s course: colonialism, sex, aesthetics, history, poverty, language, literature, religion, independence, the veil and revolution.
Part I: BIBLIOGRAFIA Y OTROS RECURSOS DIDÁCTICOS
Textos teóricos y críticos:
Lila Abu-Lughod: Do Muslim Women Need Saving? (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013) [inglés]
Akmir, Abd al-Wahad: “El Ándalus en el pensamiento árabe moderno” (en La cultura árabe en el siglo XX, Beirut: Centro
de Estudios de la Unión Árabe, 2011) [árabe]
Antonio Alatorre: Los 1001 años de lengua española (México: FCE, 2002)
Ikram Antaki: La cultura de los árabes (México: Siglo XXI editores, 1995)
George Antonius: The Arab Awakening: The Story of the Arab National Movement (Beirut: Librairie du Liban,
Jorge Luis Borges: “Los traductores de las mil y una noches” (en Historia de la eternidad, Buenos Aires: Emecé, 1971)
Louis Cardaillac: Dos destinos trágicos en paralelo: Los moriscos de España y los indios de América (Zapopan: El
Colegio de Jalisco, 2012)
Aimé Césaire: Discurso sobre el colonialismo (Madrid: Akal, 2006)
Antonio García de León: El mar de los deseos: El Caribe hispano musical (México: FCE, 2016)
Mia Gerhardt: The Art of Story-Telling: A Literary Study of the Thousand and One Nights (Leiden: E.J. Brill,
Juan Goytisolo: Tradición y disidencia (México: Tecnológico de Monterrey – Ariel, 2001)
Juan Goytisolo: Ensayos escogidos (México: FCE, 2007)
Juan Goytisolo: “Un intelectual libre”, presentación a la traducción española de Orientalismo de Edward Said (Barcelona:
Juan Goytisolo: “Homenaje a Mahmud Darwish” (en El erial y sus islas, México: FCE, 2015)
Philip Hitti: The Arabs: A Short History (Londres: Macmillan, 1965) [inglés; existe una traducción al español de la
primera edición del libro, publicada en Buenos Aires por Abril en 1944)
Sabri Jiryis: The Arabs in Israel (Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1968) [inglés]
Luce López-Baralt: Huellas del Islam en la literatura española. De Juan Ruiz a Juan Goytisolo (Madrid: Hiperión, 1985)
Luce López-Baralt: El viaje maravilloso de Buuqiya a los confines del universo (Madrid, Trotta, 2004)
Luce López-Baralt: La literatura secreta de los últimos musulmanes de Europa (Madrid: Trotta, 2009)
Muhsin Mahdi: Introducción a la edición crítica de Las mil noches y una noche (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1984) [árabe]
Joseph Massad: Desiring Arabs (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007) [inglés]
Camila Pastor de María y Campos: “Inscribing Differences: Maronites, Jews and Arabs in Mexican Public Culture and
French Imperial Practices” (en Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, 6(2), 169-187, 2011) [inglés]
Camila Pastor de María y Campos: “The Mashreq Unbound: Arab Nationalism, Criollo Nationalism and the Discovery of
America by the Turks” (en Mashriq and Mahjar, 2(2), 28-54, 2014) [inglés]
Silvana Rabinovich y Perla Sneh: “Alientos de exilios” (en Políticas del exilio: orígenes y vigencias de un concepto de
Fabian Ludueña Romandini, Buenos Aires: Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, 2011)
Juan José Saer: El concepto de ficción: Textos polémicos contra los prejuicios literarios (México: Planeta, 1997)
Silvana Rabinovich: “Mahmud Darwish y el fantasma que recorre nuestro continente” (en Al Zeytun: Revista
iberoamericana de investigación, análisis y cultura palestina, núm. 1, abril 2017, año 1)
Silvana Rabinovich: Discurso del indio de Mahmud Darwish (a publicar)
Shadi Rohana: “Canasta de poesta mexicanos para la Revolución palestina” (en Periódico de poesía, UNAM, núm. 90,
Shadi Rohana: “Julio Cortázar entrevistado por la Revolución palestina” (en Badebec: Revista del Centro de Estudios de
Teoría y Crítica Literaria, núm. 12, marzo 2017, vol. 6)
Shadi Rohana: “Una entrevista peregrina” (Al Zeytun: Revista iberoamericana de investigación, análisis y cultura
palestina, núm. 1, abril 2017, año 1)
Edward Said: “Embargoed Literature” (en The Nation, septiembre 2017, 1990) [inglés]
Edward Said: Orientalismo (Barcelona: Debate, 2013)
Nazik Almalaika: Astillas y cenizas (Madrid: Alfalfa, 2010)
Sinan Antoon: Fragmentos de Bagdad (Madrid: Turner, 2014)
Radwa Ashur: Granada (trilogía) (Madrid: Ediciones de Oriente y del Mediterráneo, 2008)
Huda Barakat: El labrador de aguas (La otra orilla, 2006)
Salim Barakat: Las plumas: viaje sentimental al Kurdistán (Madrid: Libertarias, 1992)
Salim Barakat: Dos trayectos (Madrid: Ediciones del Oriente y Mediterráneo, 2010)
Mohamed Chukri: El pan a secas (Barcelona: Cabaret Voltaire, 2012)
Mohamed Chukri: El loco de las rosas (Barcelona: Cabaret Voltaire, 2015)
Mohamed Chukri: Zoco chico (Barcelona: Cabaret Voltaire, 2016)
Mohamed Chukri (Shukri): “Jean Genet en Tánger (fragmentos); intro. y trad. por Shadi Rohana” (en La Jornada
Semanal, 30 de abril de 2017)
Mays Dagher: “El momento ha de llegar” (en AlPestine dossier, Specimen: The Babel Review of Translation, http://
Mahmud Darwish: Once astros (Madrid: Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional, 2000)
Mahmud Darwish: Memoria para el olvido (Madrid: Ediciones del Oriente y del Mediterráneo, 2009)
Mahmud Darwish: Discurso del indio (a publicar)
Waghih Ghali: Cerveza en el club de Snooker (Barcelona: Sajalín, 2012)
Gamal el Guitani: Zaini Barakat (Madrid: Libertarias, 1994)
Emile Habibi: Los extraordinarios hechos que rodearon la desaparición de Said, padre de las calamidades, el
pesoptimista (Barcelona: Muchnik, 1990)
Rawi Hage: El juego de De Niro (Barcelona: Duomo, 2009)
Sonnallah Ibrahim: El comité (Madrid: Libertarias, 1991)
Yusuf Idris: Una casa de carne (La otra orilla, 2008)
Nizar Kabbani: El libro de amor (Madrid: Hiperión, 2001)
Abed Maqbul: Fragmento de Los estafados (en AlPestine dossier, Specimen: The Babel Review of Translation, http://
Naguib Mahfuz: Veladas del Nilo (Madrid: Libertarias, 1989)
Naguib Mahfuz: Hijos de nuestro barrio (Madrid: Martínez Roca, 2000)
Naguib Mahfuz: Cuentos ciertos e inciertos (Madrid: Instituto Hispano-Árabe de cultura, 1974)
Abderrahman Munif: Memoria de una ciudad (Madrid: Ediciones del Oriente y del Mediterráneo, 2003)
Ahmed Nayi: Fragmento de El uso de la vida (en La Jornada Semanal, 19 de febrero de 2016)
Ahmed Nayi: “Platicar con Trotsky” (en La Jornada Semanal, 14 de mayo de 2017)
Shadi Rohana y Benjamín García (eds.): Blogósfera México-Palestiba. Edición bilingüe (México: SEDEREC, 2016)
Tayyib Saleh: Época de migración al norte (Madrid: Huerga y Fierro, 1998)
Anton Shammas: Arabescos (Madrid: Mondadori, 1988)
Yabra Ibrahim Yabra: El primer pozo (Madrid: Ediciones del Oriente y del Mediterráneo, 1998)
Part II: BIBLIOGRAFIA Y OTROS RECURSOS DIDÁCTICOS
Dunya Mikhail: Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea (New Directions, 2009)
Etel Adnan: The Arab Apocalypse (Post-Apollo Press, 2017)
Etel Adnan: Sitt Marie Rose (Post-Apollo Press, 1982)
Fadia Faqir: In the House of Silence: Autobiographical Essays by Arab Women (Garnet Publishing, 1998)
Fadwa Tuqan: A Mountainous Journey: A Poet’s Autobiography (Graywolf Press, 1999)
Fatima Mernissi: Sueños del umbral: Memorias de una niña del harén (México: Océano, 1996)
Hanan Al-Shaykh: La historia de Zahra (Del Bronce, 2009)
Hanan Al-Shaylh: “War and Writing (post-National Writing)” (New Perspectives Quarterly. 22.3, 2005, 15-18)
Hoda Elsadda: “Arab Women Bloggers: The Emergence of Literary Counterpublics” (Middle East Journal of Culture and
Communication. 3.3, 2010, 312-332)
Huda Barakat: El labrador de aguas (Belacqua, 2007)
Huda Barakat: La luz de la pasión (Seix Barral, 2000)
Huda Barakat: Mi señor y mi amor (Belacqua, 2008)
Joumana Haddad: Yo maté a Sherezade: Confesiones de una mujer árabe (Editorial Debate: Madrid, 2011)
Laila Abu-Lughod: Do Muslim Women Need Saving? (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013)
Leila Ahmed: A Border Passage: From Cairo to America— A Woman’s Journey (Penguin, 2012)
Margot Badran and Miriam Cooke: Opening the Gates: A Century of Arab Feminist Writing (Indiana University Press, 1990)
Nathalie Handal: The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology (Interlink, 2015)
Nazik Almalaika: Astillas y cenizas (Madrid, Alfalfa 2010)
Radwa Ashour, Ferial J. Ghazoul & Hasna Reda-Mekdasi: Arab Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide, 1873-1999) (The
American University in Cairo Press: Cairo, 2008)
Radwa Ashur: Trilogía Granada (Madrid: Ediciones del Oriente y del Mediterráneo, 2008)
Sahar Khalifeh: Imagen, Icono y promesa (Barcelona: Cahoba, 2007)
Salim Barakat: Las plumas: viaje sentimental al Kurdistán (Madrid: Libertarias, 1992)
Salim Barakat: Dos trayectos (Madrid: Ediciones del Oriente y Mediterráneo)
Samar Yazbek: La Frontera: Memoria de mi destrozada Siria (Barceona: Stella Maris, 2015)
Samar Yazbek: Feux croisés: journal de la révolution syrienne (Paris, Buchet-Chastel, 2012)
Samira Saraya: “A Voice from Aswat” en Moussa, Ghaida y Ghadeer Malek, Min Fami: Arab Feminist Reflections on Identity,
Space and Resistance (Toronto: Innana, 2013)
Thomas Philipp: “The Autobiography in Modern Arab Literature and Culture” (Poetics Today. 14.3, 1993: 573-604)
Shadi Rohana is a Mexico-based educator and literary translator, translating between Arabic, Spanish and English. He has introduced and translated a number of Latin American authors from Spanish to Arabic, as well as speeches and declarations from the EZLN in Chiapas. He persued Latin American Studies in the United States (Swarthmore College) and Mexico (UNAM), and currently teaches Arabic literature in Spanish translation at the Colegio de México in Mexico City. The Arabic translation of José Emilio Pacheco’s Las batallas en el desierto (Palestine, 2016) was his first novel-length work.