Aljazeera Arabic this evening interviewed Sayyid Najm, an Egyptian novelist and literature specialist on war in literature. He is author of, among other things, Ayyam Yusuf Mansi (Cairo: Zahran, 1990). He made some interesting points about the structure of war novels, and the way the pacing has to be picked up during the battles. The interviewer then asked about the current fighting.
Q. In light of your experience with war in literature, what do you have to say about Gaza today?
Sayyid Najm: If were were to speak about the literature of war with regard to today, I’d have to say that there is no war in Gaza. In Gaza today, all that we have experienced and lived through and dealt with the meaning of, tells us that a war is a conventional army fighting another conventional army. But here the tanks are going against flesh and human beings; bullets and bombs and fighter jets against bodies and eyes, children and women; death before blood and earth. This is no war. What is going on in Gaza, if we are to express it correctly, is state terror.