“Crows do not eat the dead.” a novel mournful victory

The novel “Crows That Don't Eat the Dead” was recently published by the Egyptian writer Doua Gamal El Badi, and its chapters describe the biography and fate of the Mansi family who settled in the city of Suez during the 19th century. The grandson who was born during the June 1967 debacle.

The novel – 219 pages long – deals with the consequences of wars on people, whether they end in defeat or victory.

The protagonist of “Crows Don't Eat the Dead” has strong beliefs about wars and crows that plague his entire career, and constant disappointments force him to leave his town to begin a new journey of suffering across multiple cities. Do it. As events progress, the past is revealed to him one by one. Due to this he is faced with a real reality and a fabricated reality.

Egyptian journalist Doaa al-Baadi won the Tayyeb Salih International Prize for Writing Creativity in 2019 for the novel “Flower of Andalusia”, and the Supreme Council of Culture Award for the play “Ashes” in 2023. He published a series of short stories titled “They're Growing in the Nightstand Drawer” in 2019.

Al-Badi says, “There is a strong relationship between journalism and literature. They both talk about people and target people. There is also a difference between them. Journalistic writing is governed by the restrictions that are imposed.” “Reporting”, where the language is dry and strives towards neutrality, but writing in literature is free without any restrictions.

She adds: “There are many writers who have worked in journalism, such as Ghassan Kanafani, Ehsan Abdel Quddus and Youssef Idris.”

Al-Badi believes that the journalistic story seeks out information and covers all sides of the issue, while the fictional story only presents its author's feelings regarding the event, apart from the difference in the nature of the narrative. She adds: “The journalist and the novelist are not suitable for history, because the journalist is inspired by the policies of the journalistic institution in which he works, and the novelist is guided by them.” “Her feelings.”

Regarding the novel's setting and its chronological context, Al-Badi believes that the novel deals with the impact of war on people – whether the war ends in defeat or victory – “No city of Egypt is like Which may have been affected by the Egyptian wars “fought like Suez during the last century.”

A photo of novelist Doua al-Baadi
Novelist Doaa Al Badi won the Tayyeb Salih International Prize for Writing Creativity for the novel “Flower of Andalusia” in 2019 (Al Jazeera)

The Egyptian novelist believes that the crisis was dealt with through the hero himself, who told the family's biography before telling his own biography.

a tale of two wars

Of her inspiration for writing the novel she says: “I believe that despite the victory in 1973, six years later, and despite the time dimension of the two wars, the Egyptians have not yet recovered from the defeat of June 1967. Let me start with this…All the heroes of the novel carry this defeat on their shoulders and move forward in life. And with every incident it becomes clear to them that they have not won. “

In the novel's texts, which seem like parts of a poetic poem, one of its characters says: “I wake up, and the rest are sick on the ground, addicted to the dust and chewing on their bodies, and There in the distance is a shadow extinguishing matches and turning the embers of the farce. Then here are the brave ones, captive like the remains of the slain! I appear.” They poured blood on my clothes and laughed. Who will give the ashes, and who will be given the burnt offering?

The text continues: “Then their voices, hurt by defeat, were raised:

– climb down.
– You will die.
And I shouted at them:

-You are a coward and I am completely remorseful.
They feel sad and hit their palms, and I also say:
-I won't come back.
For some mysterious reason, they are gathering around an invisible point, preparing to explode, while I wait for the crows to arrive to sort out the matter.

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