Women Writing War, a Levantine Outlook
  • Kifah Hanna
Part of the Literatures and Cultures of the Islamic World book series (LCIW)


In November 1975, Ghadah al-Sammān composed her Beirut Nightmares while trapped in an apartment as her city plunged head-long into the darkness of civil war. In a moment of radical doubt, one of her characters, Maryam a journalist, reflects on the value and utility of her profession, of writing itself, in the face of the violence surrounding her, and she pessimistically concludes that “the pen is powerless to confront a situation like this.”1 Mirroring the author’s own, this scenario perhaps also reflects al-Sammān’s doubts about the literary and the role of the writer as an agent of sociopolitical change. Nevertheless she, like Saḥar Khalīfeh and Hudā Barakāt, continued to write against the crisis, the catastrophe, which, in Walter Benjamin’s phrase, “keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage,” and not only documented its destructive impact upon Lebanese society, but also forged through her literature an ethics of resistance and reconciliation as a groundwork for bridging Lebanon’s divides.2


Child Soldier Arab Woman Woman Writer Arabic Literature Political Reconciliation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Kifah Hanna 2016

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  • Kifah Hanna

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