Damazine, published out of Damascus, Syria, aims to “become the treasure house for quality literature related to the Muslim world.” Editor Serene Taleb-Agha writes that “For those of you who search for truths that can’t be expressed in news reports or feature articles, we pray that Damazine will become one of your regular stops.”
Kenneth Griggs’s “The Boots” is almost a vignette, of a white kid (who throughout the story is just called “the white kid,” no name) in Africa who is sitting in a campervan, waiting in line for the ferry to take them to the city of Dar es Salaam. First, the driver of the campervan returns with a story about a man who hits a giraffe with his car. The driver is asked to assist in moving the giraffe, but claims that “Here, it‘s best not to get involved. It‘s a different kettle of rotten fish altogether.” Then, a black boy comes and steals the white kid’s boots which results in a chase scene, one which causes the white kid to ultimately surrender his boots by throwing them into the water after the black kid. Before walking away, he looks back and wonders about the black kid: “whether the crowd on the other side was waiting to stone him or greet him with congratulation.”
The realities of the story “Rebel” by Nicomedes Austin Suárez (from Bolivia) are heavy; a doctor gets a visit from the leader of the Awani rebel forces who he says reminds him of the grim reaper. Dr. Talal knows that he is in trouble and that his life is in danger, for having treated wounded government officials. But even though, in the end, he and his family are in danger and must flee, the story is a sense of pride as the doctor is willing to treat those in need, regardless of the politics.
“Dust and Water” by Gonzalo Salesky (Argentina) is a shorter poem that speaks of returning to the earth, that we are all dust and water. After all, “The earth is waiting for us.” In the end, “You will succeed to leave the labyrinth.”
There are also poems by Peycho Kanev (Bulgaria), Jenna Kilic (United States), Michael O’Connor (United States), and Kevin W. Roberts (United States) as well as a fiction piece by Joe Urso (United States).
While I won’t pretend to know much about the Muslim world or the literature related to it, I enjoyed the way that there seemed to be deeper meaning amidst the stories, a revealing of truths not normally recognized or thought about.