domingo, 7 de enero de 2018



This freshly translated novel is a harrowing depiction of the atrocities the ordinary Iraqi has endured for the past half-century. Ibrahim the Fated survives the horrors of war only to become a gardener in the palace of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, in whose opulent gardens he is forced to bury thousands of corpses. 

for the Iraqi perspective, turn to Muhsin al-Ramli’s The President’s Gardens, translated by Luke Leafgren (Maclehose), which follows a group of friends growing up under Saddam Hussein. 

The President’s Gardens, By Muhsin Al-Ramli
Many of us are used to seeing Iraq on the news, a Country making headlines or being part of that special report on the news. But what do we really know? How much of an insight do we really have on a part of the world which has often been reduced to a handful of events such as the end of the Saddam Hussein regime, the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion?


"La invasión americana dejó a niños iraquíes sin familia; la mayoría está ahora en el DAESH"
La Miteu trae desde Madrid al escritor iraquí Muhsin Al-Ramli para presentar el espectáculo "Children of War" (Los niños de la guerra) del grupo Al Salam.
MARTA SALGADO 26/04/2017 
La obra arrancará hoy a las 20,30 horas en el Teatro Principal. Después de la función, el hispanista y académico protagonizará una charla sobre este monodrama de Ali Reysan, que narra el sufrimiento de los iraquíes a lo largo de la historia. 
Una infancia arrebatada por la guerra.
Desde la infancia hasta la muerte los ciudadanos iraquíes son niños. No han vivido su infancia. Todo lo que pasa es demasiado grande para ellos: guerras, dictaduras... "Children of War" tiene mucho simbolismo. Es más poético que explicativo.
¿Cuáles son las secuelas?
Son secuelas de por vida. Los iraquíes nunca han sido terroristas pero algunos han nacido bajo ocupación. Por ejemplo, la invasión americana empezó hace 14 años; es decir, el niño que tenía 10 años ahora tiene 24 años. Y la mayoría está ahora en el grupo terrorista Daesh porque ha perdido su padre, su familia, su casa, su colegio... Iraq nunca ha vivido diez años de paz seguidos. Sufrió 24 ocupaciones. Por eso, la obra es una reflexión del sufrimiento del individuo históricamente hasta hoy. 
¿Cómo vivió usted la guerra con Irán?
Yo tenía 13 años. Era un niño cuando empezó la guerra, en 1980. Duró ocho años. Yo personalmente he visto el cadáver de un primo mío. Millones de huérfanos, de inválidos de guerra y también tenemos viudas. La mujer ha sufrido más que el hombre porque llevaba todo el peso.
¿Qué futuro le espera a Iraq?
Es muy difícil adivinar porque ahora todo el mundo tiene empresas allí. Iraq lo que más sufrió siempre y ahora es por sus vecinos. No queremos perder la esperanza. Por eso, hacemos teatro y arte porque mientras estemos vivos, no perdemos la esperanza. Los pueblos sufren pero no mueren. Las cosas no se arreglarán pronto. Ojalá se termine el petróleo y así todo el mundo nos deje en paz. Después de Arabia Saudí, Iraq es el segundo país de reserva de petróleo y de buena calidad. Por eso, todo el mundo está encima. 
¿Les preocupa que Donald Trump haya llegado a la presidencia de Estados Unidos?
Nosotros no esperamos buenas cosas de los americanos. Son los invasores. Quizás, él sea más directo. No nos engaña. Hemos sufrido décadas de mentira. Un ejemplo es cuando decían que teníamos armas de destrucción masiva. Lo que se puede esperar es que sea franco, que diga 'quiero tal'. Ahora los iraquíes no saben lo que quieren de ellos. 

sábado, 6 de enero de 2018

Muhsin Al-Ramli 伊拉克現代詩100首

En chino
Un poema de Muhsin Al-Ramli, dedicado a su hermano
Y un poema de su hermano Hassan Mutlak
Con unas biografías breves de ambos


viernes, 5 de enero de 2018

Baghdad Noir (Iraq)

Baghdad Noir


Edited by: Samuel Shimon
One of the world’s most war-torn cities is portrayed through a noir lens in this chilling story collection.


Akashic Books continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each story is set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.
Brand-new stories by: Muhsin Al-Ramli, Nassif Falak, Hadia Said, Ahmed Saadawi, Salima Salih, Roy Scranton, Hayet Raies, Mohammed Alwan Jabr, Dheya al-Khalidi, Hussain al-Mozany, Sinan Antoon, Salar Abdoh, Ali Bader, and Layla Qasrany.
Muhsin Al-Ramli

From I Killed Her Because I Loved Her 
by contributor Muhsin Al-Ramli:
The neighborhood, timeless with its narrow, smelly lanes, seemed to have been forgotten since it came into being with the foundation of Baghdad in Abbasid times. The streets were pocked with potholes, noisy with the clamor of children playing and the clatter of peddlers’ carts. On the pavement there were piles of putrid, smoldering garbage: the smoke mixed with the smell of spices, grilled meat, and other foods cooking. The houses were crammed with people and were built of old bricks and planks of wood. If they hadn’t been leaning on each other, the only reason they didn’t collapse was that there wasn’t enough space on the ground between them.

The President’s Gardens, By Muhsin Al-Ramli


The One-eyed TV,” by Muhsin Al-Ramli
trans. Yasmeen Hanoosh
Just as the thirteenth year of my life started, the Iraqi-Iran war began. Before it was even a year old, my oldest brother was killed and one of my cousins was taken as a prisoner of war. That is when I began hearing my father curse “Mr. President” whenever he found himself alone with my mother in the orchard, kitchen, or bedroom, or as she milked our cows in the pen.

jueves, 14 de diciembre de 2017

The President’s Gardens By Muhsin Al-Ramli – By Wajeeha Mohsin

The President’s Gardens by Muhsin Al-Ramli
                                                         By Wajeeha Mohsin
It is seldom that a book translated from another language maintains its ‘feel’ without compromising the prose-like quality of the original. Luke Leafgren manages to achieve this daunting task in his translation of this epic novel by Muhsin Al-Ramli. Priced at a high price of PKR 1,875 while purchasing I wondered whether or not the book is truly worth this amount. However, to my great surprise, the Al- Ramli not just met my expectations but in fact exceeded them.
The President’s Gardens is a saga about friendship, love, war and betrayal in Saddam Hussain’s Iraq.  Iraq stayed in the headlines throughout the world in the 1980s and 1990s which subsequently generated a lot of references to Saddam in books, literature and movies. However, few are able to provide an insiders’ view of this era.  Those of us who have grown up reading about the Iran-Iraq war through the viewpoint of American or Iranian writers this book provides a brand new perspective.  This multi-generational story takes us on a journey with Abdullah Kafka, Tariq the Befuddled and Ibrahim the fated.  Born in 1959, the three are fast friends. Together (although each in a different way) they are a representative of a generation that has lived through turmoil for a great part of their lives. Abdullah and Ibrahim get conscripted for military services just as Iran-Iraq war breaks out. Abdullah is captured by the Iranians while Ibrahim returns only to face the horrors of war once again as Saddam makes a disastrous decision to invade Kuwait.  The writer is direct in his narrative and does not shy away from describing the horrors of war.  At merely 400 pages, the book is fast-paced yet philosophical and deeply introspective.
As much as I have enjoyed reading The President’s Gardens the book is not without its flaws. The most glaring flaw, in my opinion, is that of structure-  there are parts that don’t fit in as well as the others while some pertinent information is revealed to the reader a bit too late thus disrupting the wonderful flow that author has created. Overall I would rate it at 4 stars out of 5.  It is only recently that the books narrating the life in Iraq have started to be translated into English especially since the downfall of Saddam Hussain making The President’s Gardens a rare gem. Though rooted in the context of Iraq, the book deals with some universal themes even if you are not interested in this region’s history I would recommend that you give it a try.

Wajeeha Mohsin is an HR professional from Lahore, Pakistan. She has done her master’s from London School of Economics and Political Sciences. She enjoys reading, travelling and binge-watching crime shows.