Archive for February, 2015

Alif Baa Supplementary Materials

Feb 25 2015 Published by under Pop Culture

For English speakers beginning to learn Arabic, the most popular and most effective book is Alif Baa by Brustad, Al-Batal, and Al-Tonsi. Based on the order of its vocabulary, here are some materials that I like to use for providing cultural input in Arabic class:

Unit One

Unit Three

To be continued…

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Alice Walker, Writing from Gaza

Feb 04 2015 Published by under Modern Lit,Pop Culture

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Image:

Alice Walker speaks in the occupied

West Bank city of Ramallah.

Lazar Simeonov TEDxRamallah

 

 

Because I have studied Arabic for a long time, people sometimes ask me for my analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I usually let others steer the conversation, not because I have no ideas or opinions, but because sometimes I have little to say. I recently read Alice Walker’s book The Cushion in the Road (2013). These quotes regarding the situation in Israel / Palestine resonated with me:

“I think one reason it is so hard for people to deal with the Palestine/Israel issue is that so much of it is unbelievable.  Even when you’re standing there, in the middle of it, the mind has to struggle to grasp what is happening.  What has been done for the past sixty-odd years, and what is being done now.  Just as my niece finds it impossible to imagine what a segregated American South felt like, I find it hard to believe Israelis assume they can live through generations of brutally oppressing the people whose lands they occupy.  The greatest, most obvious expression of their intent to do this is THE WALL.” – p.305 and here

“There is, finally, a sense of overwhelm, trying to bring comfort to someone whose sleeping child has been killed and buried, a few weeks ago, up to her neck in rubble; or a mother who has lost fifteen members of her family, all her children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters, her husband. What does one say to people whose families came out of their shelled houses waving white flags of surrender only to be shot down anyway? To mothers whose children were, at this moment, playing in the white phosphorous laden rubble that, after 22 days of bombing, is everywhere in Gaza? White phosphorus, once on the skin, never stops burning. There is really nothing to say. Nothing to say to those who, back home in America, don’t want to hear the news. Nothing to do, finally, but dance.” – p. 335 and here

As Alice Walker says, “Hard times require furious dancing.”

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