Articles Archive for October 2011
She founded Raya Agency for Arabic Literature eight years ago. After long internships in publishing houses in New York and Paris, Jraissati realised at the 2004 Frankfurt Book Fair that ‘publishers interested in the Arab world couldn’t get their hands on interesting books because they can’t read them.’ Surely they often simply don’t want to, I say. She laughs. ‘That’s the other part of the story. I wanted them to be interested, so I had a mission… you can’t be interested if you don’t know anything about it, so I wanted to be some sort of medium.’
It is fascinating how religion acts as a shield against the tyranny of the family: the Quranic authority overthrows his father’s, releases him from the structure Zahi grew up with. Only gradually is this freedom limited again: It is for example forbidden to cheer during football matches, because only God can be honored and love for the team is blasphemy. The religious conversations are themselves increasingly darker: visions of hell take over the paradisiacal vistas, intimacy and contemplation is replaced by the aggressive proselytizing and moral campaigns.