In this powerful cultural critique, Ariel Dorfman explores the political and social implications of the smiling faces that inhabit familiar books, comics, and magazines. He reveals the ideological messages conveyed in works of popular culture such as the Donald Duck comics, the Babar children’s books, and Reader’s Digest magazine. The Empire’s Old Clothes was widely praised when it was first published in 1983. This edition, including a new preface by the author, makes a contemporary classic newly available.
In the world of Chilean poet Ariel Dorfman, men and women can be forced to choose between leaving their country or dying for it. The living risk losing everything, but what they hold onto—love, faith, hope, truth—might change the world. It is this subversive possibility that speaks through these poems. A succession of voices—exiles, activists, separated lovers, the families of those victimized by political violence—gives an account of ruptured safety. They bear witness to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of personal and social damage in the aftermath of terror. The first bilingual edition of Dorfman’s work, In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land includes ten new poems and a new preface, and brings back into print the classic poems of the celebrated Last Waltz in Santiago. Always an eloquent voice against the ravages of inhumanity, Dorfman’s poems, like his acclaimed novels, continue to be a searing testimony of hope in the midst of despair.
Since 2002, at least 775 men have been held in the U.S. detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. According to Department of Defense data, fewer than half of them are accused of committing any hostile act against the United States or its allies. In hundreds of cases, even the circumstances of their initial detainment are questionable.
This collection gives voice to the men held at Guantánamo. Available only because of the tireless efforts of pro bono attorneys who submitted each line to Pentagon scrutiny, Poems from Guantánamo brings together twenty-two poems by seventeen detainees, most still at Guantánamo, in legal limbo.
If, in the words of Audre Lorde, poetry “forms the quality of light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change,” these verses—some originally written in toothpaste, others scratched onto foam drinking cups with pebbles and furtively handed to attorneys—are the most basic form of the art.
Death Poem by Jumah al Dossari
Take my blood.
Take my death shroud and
The remnants of my body.
Take photographs of my corpse at the grave, lonely.
Send them to the world,
To the judges and
To the people of conscience,
Send them to the principled men and the fair-minded.
And let them bear the guilty burden before the world,
Of this innocent soul.
Let them bear the burden before their children and before history,
Of this wasted, sinless soul,
Of this soul which has suffered at the hands of the "protectors or peace."
Jumah al Dossari is a thirty-three-year old Bahraini who has been held at Guantanamo Bay for more than five years. He has been in solitary confinement since the end of 2003 and, according to the U.S. military, has tried to kill himself twelve times while in custody.
Formerly exiled Chilean author Ariel Dorfman, one of Latin America's greatest writers and a major literary figure of the twentieth century, is known for such critically acclaimed works as the novel Widows and the play Death and the Maiden. A master of various literary forms, this collection draws together Dorfman's critical essays on contemporary Latin American writing. Spanning more than twenty years and arranged in chronological order, each essay is devoted to a single author—Miguel Angel Asturias, Jorge Luis Borges, José Maria Arguedas, Alejo Carpentier, Gabrial Garcia Márquez, Roa Bastos—and one final essay looks at the "testimonial" or concentration camp literature from Chile.
Praise for Ariel Dorfman “One of the most important voices coming out of Latin America.”—Salman Rushdie
“A remarkable writer . . . writing out of a very different cultural perspective from comfortable American readers.”—Digby Diehl, Los Angeles Herald Examiner
“One of the six greatest Latin American novelists.”—Jacobo Timmerman, Newsweek