Posts

Freedom Book Fair: Canan Marasligil

This article is published on al.arte magazine, written by Tine Lavent.

She is writing a book about translation and why she translates. In French, dotted with Turkish words when her heart calls for it. Canan Marasligil’s poems, artistic practice, and workshops revolve around creating space. A safe space, to exchange thoughts about women’s rights, migration, languages and translation, female desire, writing and representation. At the 2019 edition of the Freedom Book Fair, she will moderate a talk about feminist poetry, hold a poetry translation workshop, and lead a discussion about reclaiming space through writing. “I’m not interested in someone saying thanks to the Dutch freedom you have space, as opposed to Afghanistan where you are in danger.”

With the City in Translation project, Canan Marasligil took fellow modern-day flâneurs on a walk through the city, on a friendly hunt for languages. The quest led their gaze from the walls’ bricks to paving stones and back, to collect the written word from T-shirts of passers-by, signboards above shop windows, and plastic wraps among trash left on the sidewalk. With the urban landscape as a canvas, the workshop led participants to observe how many languages actually flaunt through cities—and to imagine or document how this came about.

This endeavor started in 2015, yet the writer/translator has not slowed down since. The focal point of (almost) everything she does is, as simple and complicated as it is, words. Languages. “The reason I translate is very personal,” she says. “I grew up in Brussels, in a Turkish family. This means I grew up in a country surrounded by lots of stereotypes about being Turkish and being from a Muslim country. When you grow up in such an environment you always feel the need to say: no, I’m more than what you think! I’m more than that!” This was the very reason why Marasligil, at a young age already, started translating. Mostly songs, and other scattered fragments from Turkish popular culture. “Translation has always been a necessity for me. The older I got, the more I understood the power of translation and the power of letting other people know that we have many languages in our lives, and that this is a form of richness. My mother tongue is —if you wish— Turkish, but I grew up primarily in French and my French is better than my Turkish. So if you ask me, French is also my mother tongue. Yet I was told that I couldn’t write in French because it is not my mother tongue. I try to break through the idea that writing and translating literature is only for a certain elite, who ‘master’ certain tools.”

“I don’t believe in mastering a language. When we talk about mastering a language, we become exclusive. It’s possible to do wonderful things with languages without ‘mastering’ them. It’s a very problematic word because it excludes many, many people using the language. What about people who have learned it as a third or fourth language? Not allowing people to use a language is a way of silencing them. I’m more interested in what people have to say, than how.”

FBF

Migration, nationality, identities. She uses questions about translation to tackle these issues. In between the Book Fair of Arras (France) and a translation conference at the University of Amsterdam, Marasligil will join the Freedom Book Fair in line with her work on freedom of expression, artistic freedom, and social justice. Leading a panel on feminist voices through poetry, she will explore how women from Honduras and Afghanistan write poems, and the topics they write about. “I love to look at different places in the world and how, through poetry, voices in a variety of contexts find a common language. It creates a common space where we are able to go beyond certain issues and move people to a basic human level. Poetry has the power to transcend discourses. It’s emotion. It goes to the heart of how people feel and I believe in that power, very much so.”

Inspired by Lety Elvir’s book on women’s poems of protest and resistance from Honduras, Marasligil has carefully selected a number of poems for a translation workshop that reflects her anti-elitist train of thought. “I’ll propose a somewhat literal translation of these poems. People participating don’t necessarily have to know the original language they were written in. I’ll explain what they are about, and based on these tools, they can translate the poems themselves, free to create something new, far from a perfect translation. We’ll use this workshop as an excuse to share our views about poetry, resilience, feminism…” Marasligil bursts out laughing. “We are breaking the rules of language and translation —we care about the process itself— and create something brand new.”

History Geography is the one poem she continuously recommends. It is written by Turkish Armenian poet Karin Karakaşlı. “About the Armenian genocide,” Marasligil adds. “But when you read it, it can touch upon so many other things. That’s what I love about poetry, and this poem in particular. It shows how land doesn’t belong to anyone, and that we ought to think beyond geographies. We could be more than geography, than nations.”

“What can be done to help our colleagues in countries where freedom of expression is at stake, without putting them in danger, and without patronising? That is what the Freedom Book Fair is doing in The Hague, without saying we are here to save you, but more we are here to create a shared space and be equals.” Based on her experience as a literary curator, Canan Marasligil is aware of the pitfalls of puzzling over a critical program about freedom of expression. “I’m not interested in someone saying thanks to the Dutch freedom you have space, as opposed to Afghanistan where you are in danger. The team behind the Freedom Book Fair is careful when choosing thematics, and stay away from stereotypes. They also question themselves and their own role to create true solidarity and action. Because solidarity without action, without creating space, is useless.”

Canan Marasligil @ Freedom Book Fair

Freedom Book Fair — 2,3,4 May 2019 — Migratie Museum (Hoge Zand 42, The Hague)

Peace and War through Spoken Word

On the evening of the 24th of February, around 140 people attended the Somali Poetry Night. From Sayid Abdullah also known as the Mad Mullah by the British, to modern day poets as Hadraawi and Idaajaa, all have used poetry as the main method of communication in times of War and Peace.

The speakers  were Zaynab Dahir and Abdirahman Abtidoon. Zeynab is educationalist and author of several children books and educational books. She is an activist and promoter of the Somali language among Somali children raised in the UK. She runs her own organisation, Galool Somali, which publishes teaching materials for learning Somali. Abdirahman Abtidoon is a promoter and an activist of the Somali language, art, storytelling and educationist as well as the writer of several books. He is an avid linguist and grammarian as well poetry reader. Both had an introduction into the background of Somali poetry an the role it played during the different episodes of war and oppression in Somalia.

After that came the real poets: Susu Amina, Malique Mohamud, Qali Nur and Nawal Mustafa all shared their own poetry or famous songs and poems by others. Between the different parts of the program, Abdi Baadil, a famous Somali poet, sang songs and played on the Somali lute.

This evening  was not only about the various forms and uses poetry and enjoying different forms of poetry such as Gabay, Geraar, Buraanbur and Heeso. But especially it was about bringing together a community: the large majority of attendees were young people with a Somali background. The athmosphere was very open, lively and warm.

Freedom Book Fair: Somali Poetry Night – SOLD OUT

somali-poetry-pngPeace and War through Spoken Word

From Sayid Abdullah also known as the Mad Mullah by the British, to modern day poets as Hadraawi and Idaajaa, all have used poetry as the main method of communication in times of War and Peace.

This evening we will talk about the various forms and uses poetry has in bringing together a community. We will certainly not just talk, but mostly enjoy different forms of poetry such as Gabay, Geraar, Buraanbur, Heeso and much more. No idea what those are? All the more reason to come and be properly introduced to Somali Poetry!

Where: Nutshuis, Riviervismarkt 5, Den Haag
When: 24 February
What time: 9PM – 11PM

Speakers:

Zaynab A J Dahir: Educationalist and author of several children books and educational books. Zaynab is an activist and promoter of the Somali language among Somali children raised in the UK. She runs her own organisation, Galool Somali, which publishes teaching materials for learning Somali.

Abdirahman Mohammed Abtidoon: Abtidoon is a promoter and an activist of the Somali language, art, storytelling and educationist as well as the writer of several books. He is an avid linguist and grammarian as well poetry reader.

Poets:

Susu Amina
Malique Mohamud
Qali Nur

Entrance is free, but registration is required.

Check this website for more information about the Freedom Book Fair The Hague

Publicist with books available on the Book Fair:

Looh Press aims to provide excellent selection of Islamic/African Studies books, with special focus on Somali Studies. Our special mission is to provide high quality literature on the history, culture, politics of the Somalis. At Looh Press we have a motto of preserving the classics by reprinting and representing to a modern generation. History is not only in the past for us, it is here, in the now. In the Islamic Studies field, we provide some of the best publications of some of the best books in the Islamic Sciences, focusing on the classical text with a modern editorial touch.

Looh Press is a  small press with self funded publications and was founded by Mohammed Abdullah Artan. For further details please contact them at Admin@LoohPress.com