Amin Saleh – Translator | Arab Jerusalem

He translates what he loves.
This is Amin Saleh when he translates. He has never complied with any request from any publishing or printing company, or that they have asked him to do so. Perhaps because his first condition in the text he is translating is poetic, and that he loves this text. This is the condition that implies the sensitivity of his poetic taste so deeply that one of the specialized readers told me that he feels that this book is almost untranslated, but written by Amin Saleh personally. I think this is what distinguishes the books translated by Amin Saleh from other translated books.
Amin Saleh does not give up his poetic language when addressing translation. I remember that the officials of the film festival in Saudi Arabia, when they asked him to write a film book, chose the subject that Amin Saleh is especially fond of: the poetry of cinema, especially after he chose to write literary critical texts about translating poetry in particular the book “My pockets are full of chapters, O Springs.”

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Talking about the author Amin Saleh would not have needed an occasion if it had not been for the publication of two of his translations together a few days ago, in a series of novels (one of the institutions of “Dar Kalimat” in Sharjah). And when Amin Salih translates a book about the Czech novelist Milan Kundera, he means not only his admiration for this writer, but especially because the other art of the novel that Kundera presents simulates a creative approach that corresponds to the artistic features that Amin Salih favored.

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In the articles of this book, anyone who knows nothing of the humane and militant Kundera will be able to discover much about Kundera in his reforming struggle with the comrades of the Communist Party in his country, to escape from the grip of a party apparatus that armed with an iron ideology. The reader will know about the progressive stance (formerly his party) that made Kundera defend the avant-garde experimentation in literary expression early on, and he will especially know his extreme irony about the restrictions imposed on his country’s writers. Marx said: “Religion is the opium of the people.”

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Perhaps this is a late lesson, but I think that the time is still possible to correct the dogmatism of the Stalinist parties in the world (especially Arab parties) so that the new generations do not end up in the same dogmatic predicament that our generations have not. are involved in. Perhaps those who admire Kundera’s literature should realize that intellectual freedom is one of the most important levers of beautiful literature, which this author has given us.

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In the first section of the essays, the translator offers an important number of critical readings of some of Kundera’s novels, the circumstances in which they were written, and contemporary critics’ perspective on the efficacy of Kundera’s experience. We know from them the confrontations that Kundera experienced after the Soviet occupation of his country, the personal siege that prevented him from finding work, and his writing of those beautiful novels that were printed in other languages ​​twenty and forty years outside his country is. before they were published in his country.

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According to him, “those who search in artistic work for a (political, philosophical, religious, or whatever) situation prefer it to the search for an attempt to know, or understand, this or that aspect of the to grasp reality, but they are foolish and of little intelligence, and not indifference.
“The novelist can question politics from the outside, where art is supreme,” says Kundera. “The novelist can provide clear and transparent observations about politics, while resisting temptations to engage in political passions and political ideologies.” In his struggle, he faced all these battles by writing his texts in an elegant manner, which made him at the forefront of the book of the world. Despite the political momentum that is evident in most of his novels, with his violent experience in the Soviet era for his country and its people, he does not like to describe his novels as political works, bridging the distance between the author’s intention and the data make. of his works, allowing a motivating ambiguity for critics in the fields of literature and sociology.

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It remains that the most interesting part of Amin Salih’s translation is the dialogue part, which the translator has chosen with some beautiful awareness of the experience of the novelist who speaks with astonishing freedom. For example, when Kundera says, “We are born without our counsel,” you will feel that there are fundamental questions that Kundera is asking, and he encourages the reader to seriously consider them. To know his observations and impressions of what he encountered in the most prominent international literary works, the novelist and translator expects you to have read these works, to go back to reading and reconsider your old understanding of them.

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He will talk especially about the European atmosphere in which his novels move, beyond Prague, he will see the European revolutions, since Europe is the escaped planet without a master.
While reading Kundera’s dialogues, you have to stop your head from spinning.
A writer like him who speaks with this (unbearable) degree of freedom would reveal, and we must read his writings again.

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But come and hear what he says about the war, as if now: that one day he will die, but not his country. It is believed that it has a kind of eternal life. But after the Russian invasion in 1968, every Czech had the idea that his country and nation could be removed from Europe, just as in the previous five decades, when 40 million Ukrainians disappeared so quietly from the world, without this world showing any interest in it, or Lithuania, you knew that in the seventeenth century Lithuania was a powerful and influential European nation ?
Today the Russians are working to keep the Lithuanians in their lands like an almost extinct tribe. They are kept within their borders, and visits are not allowed to prevent information about their presence being leaked abroad. I do not know what the future holds for my nation. But it is certain that the Russians will do everything in their power to gradually dissolve this nation into its own civilization. No one knows if they will succeed in this, but the possibility exists. It is enough to completely change one’s sense of life, even Europe seems fragile these days and closer to extinction.

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Kundera will be afraid of people without a sense of humor.. He will say that he discovered humor during the years of Stalinist terror. Humor intensified in many of his novels, because humor proved to be the most powerful destructive force in confronting the Soviet frown on life in the countries of Eastern Europe.

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It also remains to reflect on Kundera’s reflections that Amin Salih has selected for us in small fragments at the end of the book. We may recognize in these fragments the gems extracted from the Kundera mine, those words which diminish a part of his novels and articles which we passed without noticing, while reading Kundera in earlier days. For example, who among us remembers that he stopped at sentences like this: (The emotion of love gives us the illusion that we know the other – from the novel “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”). (Do you think that the past, just because it happened once, is over and no longer subject to change? Oh, no. The past is covered with a cloak of multicolored silk, and every time we look at it we see us another hue – from Life Elsewhere)

Bahraini poet

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