I write like Oum Koulsoum and Edith Piaf sing.
It has nothing to do with me.
When sadness appears, song enters my heart.
Reflection chooses its mirror.
The mirror, conversely, cannot choose its reflection.
My heart is like the voice of Saliha; a slave with a veiled face obscured by marks, scars, tattoos of adornment and protection.
My words are the Master's, not mine.
So are my doubts.
I doubt. It is true. For my words shall never be what they describe, for reflection is always poor and truth is always overwhelming.
My heritage is Maghribi, Shami and Ottoman. I'm a child of the Golden Age, a son of Jerusalem's Maghribiya. I'm an Arab of Palestine.
My identity: Afro-Arabian. My descent: desert and sea. My heart: a nomad's tent on the cross roads of fate, which are the cross roads of the cultures; the cross roads between life and death, past and future, exile and return, time, eternity and extinction. Its caravan: Allah.
I'm a son of African earth and Arabian soil and a creature of the nakba, the storm that befell us unaware and dispersed us into a world in which our being is fractured and defracted like the sun of birth in the soul's exile between the two worlds.
But every fraction of this sun's light has become a sun and a universe of light of its own, a river of longing enriching the world it embraces by way of being enriched by it, a sea whose human waves are the blood in my veins, the blood which is the ink on my scroll. Its flow is the breath of my prayer and the rhythm of my chant.
The bird of my soul sings and shall sing to the day the speaker of these words will have ceased to be and beyond it, for love and the Beloved are one transcending incarnation and image.
The sea is one. Yet, every fish is a facet of the oneness it reflects and every drop of water is the ocean as a whole. There is, in each of us, a universe that strives to be known.
Being a man of Palestinian extraction born in West Africa and having left it as a child for East Germany, my life from an early stage has been formed by the experience of a twofold exile, an experience that multiplied when the German Democratic Republic ceased to exist and its image was eradicated from the books of history, when I was, for the second time, exiled from Palestine where I lived from the age of 17 and went back to live in Ghana, repeatedly leaving for assignments in Europe and when thereafter I found myself in a transit situation of which I am unable to know how long it is going to last and by what destination it shall be followed. The (in my view inevitable) consequence of living conditions such as these is the emergence of a very strong and sensitive consciousness of identity which, at the same time, is enlarged to a level where it is transcendental and multiple in that it transcends boundaries and limits set by locality and local patterns, which results in a "paramount perspective" that integrates the various levels and shades distance and cultural transmigration have produced while passionately resisting imposed assimilation. As this state and socio-cultural challenge on a personal level represents the situation of a multitude of peoples and their civilisations in this era, it forms one of the predominant motives of my writing and becomes the chief concern of my spiritual and intellectual quest.
Having started writing at the age of 9, I cannot remember a time when this was not an integral part of my life. Writing to me is innate. It is my natural and most effective way of communicating with the world around me no less than with myself, and there is nothing that could replace it.
Among the authors that have most decisively formed my ethos and concept of literature are Muhammad Al Faituri, Tahar Bin Jelloun, the Sufi poets, Senghor, Chinua Achebe, Mariama Ba, Wole Soyinka, Jacques Brel, Neruda, Kwabena Sekyi and Brecht. Recent important influences include Franz Kafka and Mitzi Jackson.
I have been working in political and administrative positions and am currently associated with the Civil Rights Movement (CRMI).
In addition to that I am a freelance writer and -ocassionally- journalist.
Since I am generally lazy when it comes to updating my background informations, not all of these are up to date.