Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Proof of the Honey

The average informed Western reader rarelly associates the Arab or Muslim areal in general with eroticism. And I am not talking about modern contributions by young courageous writers, most of them writing freely about eroticism and free world far away from their home countries. What I am thinking about is an old corpus of texts where the relationships between man and woman are extensively described in terms that have nothing to do with the inflexible extreme religious descriptions way to often encountered in the current media depictions of this part of the world - not necessarily geographical but as an intellectual realm.
Salwa al Neimi recovers this tradition in a short novel where women are sharing their erotic stories and sexual experiences, part of an academic assignment the storyteller - a Syrian academic living in Paris - about classic erotic literature in Arabic.
Thus, the academic background, the references are the support to develop the real-time experience. It is what you need to counter the official narratives and nothwithstanding, Al Neimi's book created a literary scandal. 
But denying eroticis and sexual experiences is similar with denying the existence of the Arab literary sources. You can try to opress the human beings searching for sexual liberalization and simple expression of it, or you can burn or forbid the books. However, they will always be there. 
The Proof of the Honey - which I've read in German translation - is a reading which opens a new perspective on Arab literature and the Arab intellectual real. It helps to make a difference and balance and counter the intolerant stereotype.

Rating: 4 stars

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