Editorial: Endings & Beginnings
How many times in my life, I ask myself, have I had to contemplate the finality of war, and all the death left in its wake? From Vietnam to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and now Gaza, again — not to mention dozens of smaller wars that were no less devastating to the communities that endured them, in places like Bosnia, Rwanda, Sudan and Yemen…
That destruction leads to creation is of little solace; what was before will never be again; and war will return, proving that the more things change, the more they remain the same. And so, we find ourselves in an endless loop of endings and beginnings, forever caught in a web of duality, of war and peace, before and after, of life and death, barbarism and civilization.
ENDINGS & BEGINNINGS brings to a close The Markaz Review’s monthly issues in 2023, and as a double issue, stands us in good stead at the start of 2024, with 18 short stories, essays and interviews, including several by writers whose byline appears in TMR for the first time.
My heartfelt thanks go to our literary editor, Malu Halasa, for the many extra miles she traveled to pull this issue together, as well as to Rana Asfour and Lina Mounzer for their excellent translations and editorial solidarity. Kudos to our Arabic editor, Mohammad Rabie, our poetry editor, Sholeh Wolpé, and to our communications staff, Sarah Naili and Megan Jarrell. I would also like to thank our intrepid contributing editor, Salar Abdoh, who has traveled back and forth to Iran and Beirut this year, among other destinations (including Ukraine), looking for stories and writers to translate from Persian and Arabic. And this adventure would not be what it is without the generosity and solidarity of our visionary supporters, from Open Society Foundation’s Darius Cuplinskas and Hawthornden’s Ellyn Toscano to Diane Shammas, Bana & Nabil Hilal, Mark Amin, Rowan Storm, Tony Litwinko, Ani Zonneveld at Muslims for Progressive Values, our friends at CLMP and A&A, and too many others to name.
Thank you to all our readers and supporters, and may we welcome a return to peace in the new year.