The Sparrows' homeland (Watan Al-Asafir) By : Waheeb Nadeem Wahbah Translated by: Hassan Hegazy

The Sparrows' homeland
(Watan Al-Asafir)
By :
Waheeb Nadeem Wahbah
Translated by:
Hassan  Hegazy


Text reading

 ((If you over passed a letter , you will  be rightly in the vision  - Alnfri))
Dr. Mohammed Khalil

The writer  does not aim  or  look  forward to  change the present actuality  , but he aims radically to change the human being  by calling for absolute renunciation of war, aggression and violence totally , as a step in the right direction towards the embodiment of the encounter between the ego and the other  to the possibility of  achieving peace and harmony between the opposing parties which confirms the writer's desire and his true intent  to build a new world , whether it is virtual or imagined .

Once again, the writer Waheeb Nadeem Wahbah  comes  again and presents   us  his new masterpiece  ,  "  The Sparrows' homeland "( (Watan Al-Asafir) (1), which is added to a long list of his unique creative works .   This new creative experience may gain special significance and double value as  it aspires  to achieve the dream of  humanity as whole  since  eternity, namely peace and coexistence  desired, especially among the people of this country,   and the contribution that can result in the interaction of the two cultures: Arabic and Hebrew.  This can be done through  translation  Which  is considered as  a bridge linking  human cultures to each other and it is a very effective tool in the cultural exchange,  through the promotion of rapprochement, and technical communication between them.
From here we can say : Art, in all its forms and manifestations, is one of the most modern means which is  available to bring together the "I" and "the other" among the peoples, and among the people of our two countries  specifically . Our author has made  clear and sincere  efforts  that  can  be highly  referred  to in this regard .

"  The Sparrows' homeland"

( Watan Al-Asafir )

It is an advanced artistic experience  refers clearly and tells  us openly   about a creative writer, sensitive and  conscience of fertile imagination and the extent of the extremes ,  can  not  emancipate himself  from  the obsession of writing that is still chasing him, which imposes his presence on the recipient or make him a prisoner walking with the text where he wants him to arrive.  He does not  let him  even accompany him in his space or swim in his water , in search of  added  value and wanted  pleasure. Honestly , praise and vaunted rhetoric remain one of the slips of literary criticism, which calls for us to be as cautious, objective and impartial as possible to protect our approach to this text  .


The aspiration of  reading the following , what the effort can do , to provide a reading beyond the  apparent meaning of language with the story of  "  The Sparrows' homeland" to the inside of the meaning , because if we only read the apparent without going to the depths, the story would be nothing more than a simple ordinary story or familiar that  does not offer something  new or valuable  .  So what we need is an  inductive  reading and innovative  call is required  in-depth, trying to reproduce the text again. And we thought that the gems do not float on the surface but in the depths! Al-Nafri  says: If you  over passed  the  letter  ,  you  will   be rightly  on  the vision  - Alnfri ( 2) .And this what we inspire and  try to do.
In our discussion of the text, the first thing we face  the language , it is the ordinary language. If we are satisfied with it or what is known as  the apparent  language , we can not find anything of much value, or as Al-Ghathami says, "but it is the [the language] that does not stand  as something of  value, this happens  only when it overpasses the appearance of the language and extracts its secrets and  discover its hidden constructs and its beauty  .
If you are confined on what is in the language only as it is , you  would be like someone who is explaining  water after  effort  with  water "(3)!

It has been idiomatically  agreed  for long    to  call  such  reading with  the reading of  the explanation  that  is adhering  to  the text , but  it only takes the visible meaning  and gives the apparent meaning  an immunity that  makes it  rise high  above the words. So  the explanation of the text in it , will be done  by placing alternative words for the same meanings,  or it  is a shallow  repetition by  using  the  same words.( 4)! And  this  is not what  is  required  and needed from  the outcome reading  or the  illuminating one . The productive  reading  or the aesthetic acquisition of  the reception is the real reading , as  it is a creative  act  and  a cultural  aspect , completely like  the act of the creative writing  .

On the other hand, there is the so-called reading beyond language, which is the language of the language, which is what  Gergany  means " the meaning " and " the sense of meaning " where he says " the meaning and the sense of meaning , means in the sense of the apparent  meaning of the word that you can reach it  without  a means . And  the meaning of the meaning is that you can reach  and realize it from the apparent  word  a meaning   then  that  meaning  leads you  to another meaning "(5)

It is  idiomatically   agreed  on   calling  such  reading with the poetic reading and it is " reading  the text  through its code , based on the  aspects  of its artistic context. The text here is a living cell moving from within , driven by a force  that does not respond to break all the barriers between the texts.  Therefore, the poetic reading seeks to reveal what is hidden inside the  text , and read in  it  beyond what is in the present word "(6).)
The literary text is a form of a linguistic expression that is  revealing  on what it  does not say and  conceal  more than it shows! So, depending on the context and code , which are  the two most important characteristics of the text and they are the spirit of its excellence , the  literary text is supposed to be a reference text, not a  phrasal  text   , and the role of the reader is to interpret those references. It conceals inside in its innermost several  loads more than it reveals in its appearance  , which means it has several meanings and faces   . This depends  on the language of the text  or  the so-called  the code of text, which is formed  from  the content, the form and the knowledge culture of the author of the text, on one hand, and on the reader's skill and his ability to receive  , where the literary text derives its value from the cultural , intellectual , cognitive background and the imaginary energy of the reader, who is interacting with it and  in his taste of the language and aesthetics , when he is talking to  the  text   or  redrafting  it again .


The story is based  on  a narrator  who knows  well the events  and  transmits the story's events and its images according to the vision of the author himself, who, in his story, " The Sparrows' homeland," pleads not only a description of a forest  full of life, where everything is going on well, or as he says " The forest was getting up  on the sounds of the birds' songs .. very happy , active  and  full of life  "(P. 37).  In the evening , the forest  "sleeps on the farewell songs" (p. 37) and the birds play  and fly happily   in their " country which is sunken  in the beauty " (p. 37).

There is the "old Woodman  who lives on his banks [the river] most of the seasons" (p. 37).  But this reality did not last long, and overnight things  turn , in the forest, upside down,  and life in it  turned to be bad and filled with evil ,  For what was  is not present now and what is , changed now ! Forcing the birds to escape  and leave their homeland, after  having been safe and happy  , but the forest has almost become a deserted place and impact after an eye. The birds are no longer heard as they used to do. That beautiful reality has changed from a happy past to a painful and miserable present .

The next day, the woodman wakes up to a new reality, which drives him and is surprised to say : " In the morning  the woodman wakes up alone without the singing of the Sparrows  .. wondered  .. where did they go ? … where have they migrated? .. How and why did they  leave the forest .. these beautiful singing creatures? (P. 40)?   

It was not so long  for him to wonder and the answer came as quickly as  "Now  he  realizes it .. discovered  the mystery of images  and shadows .. Knows the truth of what he heard last night .. Seeing the elephants shaking the trees and falling the nests of the  birds above   the dirt  and trampling them  .. And other animals  eating  .. devouring  everything that comes across from  the sparrows .. "(p. 40)!

Even the river was polluted and the bodies of the dead sparrows  floated  on its surface, turning it into dirty water, while crocodiles and sharks came on to swallow up all  the  beautiful colored fish and  devoured  them. In short, the forest was dominated by elephants,  predatory  mammals and crocodiles (p. 44), and they were wreaking it havoc, killing  and destruction ! When the governor of the neighboring town arrived to inspect what had happened to the  sparrows   and what had happened in the forest , some snakes  came out of the logs of the woodman which were filled with packed coal   and  made their way  to   bite  the governor   to  die  at once  . The woodman was accused to  be  the murderer! During the investigation, he was asked whether some  one  has  planned or  assisted him? But he  denied  the charge, and managed to  convince the investigator that there must be a  search for  a solution to the problem to satisfy all parties, and indeed so it was .

The scene was so frightening that it  was  unbearable !  why not ,   as  such elephants, predatory animals and crocodiles, trampled the peaceful  forest  with its legs until it  became , from the last hours of the night to the sunrise, a desolation and an abomination of death, killing  and destruction? "(Pp. 40-41)!

The narrator, watching the events closely, did not  like  what his eyes saw and heard from the forest, and what happened to the sparrows who were terrifying of terror, murder, destruction and displacement. So the man under investigation says that he knows for certain that "the forest  is  only  for  of  birds  "(P. 63)! And no one has the right to own it but them  , and these elephants and crocodiles are mere strangers came  on to  the forest, and then adds: It is necessary to "return the forest as it was" (p. 63)!

What is strange, however, is that the reader did not notice, at least  even   a try , or  any  possibility of resisting  and repelling these strange  animals or any other possibility of self-defense by the  sparrows  in the face of injustice and aggression. As it is known that each bird or creature has its own means of innate  defense  ! But the sparrows  just  chose  to  escape away  terrified to keep themselves alive and preserve their  own  spirits.

The narrator and every observer, who  saw  that scene  which  happened to  the  forest homeland  when it  was destroyed and the sparrows were abandoned  , forced to emigrate  and became homeless   , so he began  sometimes by photography and another by  expression, to translate  from  that scene  in all  its dimensions and projections on the living reality of  those " sparrows " victim!

 As it is  known, that the field of literature and its origin is the human experience and the reality of man himself. So "  The Sparrows' homeland  has  come to  " express an integrated literary expression of anxiety, sorrow and fragmentation within the dreamy and the romantic writer, Where "The Romantics  sing  passionately  to the beauty of the souls, whether   they  are  great  or  humble  .

 And they take pity on the whole human race. Their eyes filled with tears for the victims of the society calling to be  just  and fair to them , attacking what is settled down from rules ….The Romantics   may  dream of an ideal society in which  rights are given  without efforts to perform duties ... The Romantics  in their literature do not seek  the truth that the humankind has been set  and accepted by the prevailing logic ... because they  live in a world where there is only the heart and the emotion " 7"!  What is known is  that  "in order for the literary work to be successful, it must have the sincerity of the expression of the reality of life, and the accuracy of photography of the problems of society" (8).

And this what the writer has done and  successfully achieved it . The writer and every other artist is the son of his entire human environment and his entire world community, so he sees, hears , understands and feels, as it is assumed, all what  is going on around him in this human society, the small cosmic village,  let alone what is going on around him in his smaller community,  especially the local ?!

In this context we can refer the reader to a press interview with the late  poet  Mahmoud  Darwish,  who says: "I consider that the first source of poetry in my personal experience is the reality, and create my symbols  out of this reality. My symbols are  my own, where the critic or the  reader can not transmit them  to any reference to the former, that is, I turn the daily into symbolic, reality is a major source of my poetry  "(9). This confirms the extent to which the creator, in the depths of his soul, is associated with both the individual and the collective dream, and his unbridled desire to fly high in search of his lost paradise, in his virtual or imagined world. The creator of his dreams is like a bird who never stops flying, exploring new horizons, taking pictures and turning them into expressive and artistic  paintings. [10]

This is what called recruitment of modulation and painting in narrative writing. The paintings created  by  Sabiha Hassan's  brush are beautiful, expressive and highly consistent with the content of the story. Thus, the language of the story came closest to the language of images and forms " because the language of dreams does not use the abstract language in the terms that people used, but use images and shapes" (11)!

For example, saying: "And suddenly he saw  a  bird  trying to leave the place and  can not  .. The wing was broken and her comrades left the place .. Another time he  heard  her song  that was sadly  crying .. As if saying   goodbye, my dear home " (p. 41)! The picture is  truly expressive,  and the picture is really better than thousand words!

It is difficult to bear the horror of the scene. It is a shocking and painful reality, physically and morally, that has destroyed the "sparrows' homeland " from killing, destroying, and forcibly displacing sparrows, especially by every human being, regardless of energy or endurance. He was afraid to see the principles of freedom and justice collapse before his eyes, as well as the values ​​of right , goodness and beauty, and replaced by vanity, injustice, evil and oppression, which forced him to declare his grievance and rejection and protest in defense of the right and justice and the rejection of falsehood and injustice, and declares that the right must be achieved and return it to its owners, no matter how time changes and transformations of the place, says: "We have to save the city and return the forest as it was" (p. 63)!  Thus, we see that the word as a declaration of position, at the very least, can free us all  from  that  painful reality , therefore   the magic of speech is only  when it relates to feeling and conscience !
The event, which was brought  by the forest  and overwhelmed it    , is evoked by an editorial with an actual sentence bearing the connotations of the last act. He says "The forest was awakened by the sounds of birds' songs" (p. 37)! With a tone ,filled with  a lot of agony and sorrow.  However, the times are often intertwined, as an evolution of story events or as an important element of narrative art.

Since past actions have many functions related to the meanings that they contain in context, the reader observes that the most prominent of these meanings: movement, change, moving description, fear, and anxiety.  It plays a prominent role in the story narrative mobile, which is frequent use of the last shape of verb to be (   was ) , and this is what the reader sees in the story board. Therefore, it is no coincidence that the narrator was seen and heard and it is  used , in the great majority of the events of the story, the language of the past tense of words and vocabulary, and so longs for the past time with all its details and colorful songs and beautiful memories, the days of serenity of that beautiful time that the forest enjoyed and its birds, quite the opposite of the present time and the accompanying of the beast , misery and tragedy! The present time has many moral functions, for example: kinetics, vitality, description, and life acquisition of the event and its permanence

The author has been able to reach the reader's conscience in his own style, his poetic language, based on simple, easy narrative language, and close to the reader's understanding , to match the story's events. The language which is  closest to the language of the modern story, which depends on the language code that is  loaded with the connotations  of reality, including the coding which  is  easy and simple, does not require much effort and through his own technical vision,  to combine the familiar and strange  in the forest, between the past and present, between Peace and War, and other contradictory  contradictions . It should be noted that the use of the symbol as a method of expression does not correspond to meaning and truth face to face, but from behind the mask.

As such, the conflict between mind and imagination, between existing reality and the desired dream, has been eased, for what the forest  has turned to  . The reader can also notice that the symbol in the story has come to a whole unit   and complete the  atmosphere  of the story and its events, because it increases the dynamics of events and  its vitality.

 As well as being very harmonious with the reality, which imposed its  presence  with all intensity and strength , the forest, it seems, symbolizes the homeland, and the   sparrows symbolize humans, sparrows and birds, all small or grown, they  symbolize humans.  Thus, the use of the symbol has become an urgent need at varying levels in modern literary writing, poetry or prose, to transform it into wonderful art  that can enrich texts and deepen them intellectually and aesthetically,  so that they appear vivid and responsive, and may be attractive and influential in the context of their narration .  The "Brotherhood  of  Safa  and Khulan Al-Wafa" ,  (known in the fourth  century  AH )   as the most prominent  of using  the birds  as a symbol .

And this leads us in the end or refers to the understanding of the symbol as it is, referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with its social, intellectual and political connotations, which to this day has been reaping human lives and material losses from both sides for a long time.  Or any other dispute, at any time and place, such specifications may apply. Hence, when analyzing creative writing of any kind, it is necessary to turn it into questions related to reality and turn it  to the present living through the movement of fusion and interaction with contemporary reality,  as well as to the exciting and influential energy in the thought and culture of the individual and society alike, which  invites the reader and urges him to meditate , reflect and reconsider all that surrounds him from the reality of living, in order to search for answers or appropriate solutions.

Also, the reader can see the employment of the question frequently in the story, as it has become a major component of writing the modern fiction. In an attempt by the writer to penetrate the painful reality, and dispel the atmosphere of bitterness and dark darkness around him, which is touched by the reader in the story of " The Sparrows' homeland ," for example, saying "how they came and where they were? And did they really come from the forest? ... Where did the snakes  hide? Have  they  parted and  left  the neighborhood ? Dozens of questions that pierced the investigator's  skull without complete or partial  answers? "(P. 60). "Who now settles there? We all know strangers , elephants and hungry crocodiles, so the sparrows   no longer have a homeland" (p. 61)!

It may be interesting  to emphasize that the writer aims not only to change the current reality, but also to radically change the human being by calling for the absolute renunciation  of war, aggression and violence as a step in the right direction towards the embodiment of the encounter between the ego and the other, To achieve  Peace and harmony between the conflicting parties. Which  confirms the writer's desire to build a new world, whether virtual or imagined.  "War means hostility," says the man (the woodman).( 12)  Here , in that context, "war means enmity. The hostility that breeds resentment and retribution is the retry in every war we lost or won. The war is inevitably death, among us and them ... I suggest peace ... nothing lasts on the ground like  peace .. Peace is the song of life and the banner of freedom. The more we increase our culture, the more awareness we are  and  to be closer to peace "(p. 65) .)

The words of  the  woodman  gives an  idea  worthy of attention and calls  to think, which is the realization of the mind and activate it  does not disable it even surpass the mind to force the power and overcome it . It is necessary to open a new page, because the wheel  of history  can  not  go back  but always  going to the front .

In the ninth scene, which is the last scene,  the idea of woodman has the interest  of  the investigator and it is accepted   ,  so the woodman is  suggesting that  after the new change  in the reality of the forest, and as a logical realistic exit, sharing  the forest equally between animals and sparrows . "We will leave half the forest for animals and the other half for  the sparrows, and then peace will prevail and good will be upon us "(p. 75)!

The idea of  ​​sharing the disputed place and  accepting  a compromise is not new, but perhaps it is time to accept it and call for it, which means our right to  stop shedding blood, saving lives and preserving property.  Indeed, this is what happened, and the story ends in the most perfect  possible  way .  The two parties are satisfied after a long period of conflict, hatred and  enmity  that   prevailed between them.
He says "The birds are coming back, the forest is rising again, the animals are training and  tamed . For weeks the forest became a hotbed of sparrows   and animals, and the ropes were removed and the borders were ended   . The lake became pure and clear  , returned as it was ; its water shone and glowed in the light of the sun "(p. 77).

A bright  painting ,  there is no hatred   , no hostility, no restrictions and no limits, after today.  The end will better  , peace and harmony prevail   in the forest instead of conflict , war and hostility, as peace is the best solution and the best outlet in such circumstances , provided that it  provides everyone with a free life,  a decent  life, and preserves the rights of their owners, says the woodman , "I suggest peace.. Nothing lasts over the earth like peace. Peace is the song of life and the banner of freedom" (p. 65!)



1- Waheeb Nadeem Wahbah: Watan Al-Asafir (The Sparrows' homeland) , Dar al-Huda Publishing and distribution  Karim, Kafr Qara, 2014. The book includes the text in both Arabic and Hebrew. In a related context we can refer to the poet  Nizar Qabbani, who says in his poem "Citizens without a homeland", which was thrown for the first time at the fifth Marbud Festival in Iraq in 1985 :

Oh my homeland  ..
 All the sparrows have houses
Except  the sparrows  that are  infatuated with  freedom
They   die   outside  their  homelands .

- See also: Mahmoud Darwish, Al-Diwan, 1, I, 14, The Sparrows die in Galilee, 1969, p. 245, Dar Al-Awda, Beirut, 1994.

2- Mohammed bin Abdul-Jabbar bin Hassan bin Ahmed Al-Nafri, was born in the city of  Nefr, located on the banks of the Euphrates  River east of Iraq and attributed to it. He was one of the greatest Sufis and traveled a lot between Iraq and Egypt, and one of the most famous books of The situations and  The Conversations. One of the most famous  is that he said :  "The wider the vision , narrowed  the phrase" ! He died in 375 AH / 965 AD .

 3- Al -Ghathami, Abdullah Muhammad: Sin and Atonement , From Structural to Anatomical, p. 21, Cultural Club, Jeddah, 19085.

 4- The same source above ,  P : 76.
5-Abdul Qahir al-Jarjani: Evidence of Miracles, read and commented by Mahmoud Muhammad Shaker, Third Edition , p. 263, Dar Al Madani, Jeddah, 1992 .
6-Al-Gathami, Abdullah Muhammad: Sin and Atonement, From Structural to Anatomical, p. 76 .
7- Mohamed Ghonaimi Helal: Romanticism, p. 18, House of Culture, Cairo, without a date .
8- Abdul Wahid Louloah : The Quest for Meaning, Critical Studies, p. 7, Freedom House for Printing, Baghdad, 1973 .
9- Mahmoud Darwish: A press interview, Al Bayan Gulf Newspaper, Dubai, 20/5/1986 .
10- Michel Foucault in his book «Words and things», Center for National Development, Beirut, 1990 .
Mohamed Ghonaimi Hilal: Romantics, p. 95 ..11-
12 -It is no an accident that the character of the woodsman  is constantly repeated as a vital and important element in the story of " The Sparrows' homeland" (Watan Al-Asafir) as a popular figure and simple, one of the basic elements of old, especially in the tales of popular literature for young and old  alike. The woodsman, as a technical assignment in the story that is focused on him, may suggest that he has an important role in the development of the story and the escalation of events to the end. To the extent that it can surprise the reader of his role of active and decisive in the story, although it is a popular figure as simple as we have already mentioned, and no wonder  His  power may be put in the weakest creation .

13-The Cover and  internal drawings of the story  by  : Sobhiya Hassan .


The Translator :

Hassan  Hegazy  Hassan, an Egyptian Poet and Translator,
Born in 16-7-1960, Graduated from  Zagazig  University  , 1982, got his BA, in English language,  Education and Arts . Member in Egypt's writer union  and  a member in The Egyptian Translators and  Linguists' Association  , in Cairo.

In  poetry:  Published  seven   collections  .

In  translation: Published about 12 works , from them  :-

1--  A whoop of Scent , a poetry collection for : Asmae’ Saqr Al-  Qassimi . U.A .E . Emirate. Into English.
2--   Seven ages  For  Man , selected poems from English poetry to  Arabic language.
3--   Under Warm Sun  :  Short stories,  for the  Tunisian Writer:  Ibraheem  Draghouthy . Into English .
4- Bleeding   Under  Sand : Very Short  Stories . Hassan  Ali  Al- Battran/  Saudi Arabia . Into English .
5- Songs   along  The  River Nile  .
6- Whispers from the other side of the world : A poetry collection for  15  Arab poets  from different parts of the Arab world,   Into  English .
7-   Bee- Flu :  Alkessah   Al-sha'erah . Mohamed Elshahat Mohamed. Egypt . Into English .
8-The Conquerors , very Short Stories by : Mohammed Ibn  Rabea  al-Ghamedy  ,Saudi Arabia . Into  English .
9- Paradise  in  my  chest , Tahani  Al- Douihm , , very short stories , Saudi Arabia . Into English .
10-The Signal  is  Still  Red ,Very  short  stories , Ibtessam  Al-Bakhmey , Saudi Arabia . Into  English .

11 –Innovations from the east and the west . a poetry collection. Asmae’ Saqr Al-  Qassimi . U.A .E . Emirate. Into English.


ليست هناك تعليقات: