The City Is In My Chest by Hisham Bustani

By Hisham Bustani Translated from the Arabic by Thoraya El-Rayyes Algiers It’s no wonder the city looks exhausted. It is besieged by history, and history besieges you within it like a foot stamping down on your lungs, everywhere and from every direction. As if it is heavy water—you try to lift your head above the surface but cannot, for hovering above you is ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jazā’irī, raising his curved sword in the square that carries his name; and at the corner of the Milk Bar Café, Zahra Ẓaryf-Biyṭāṭ planted a bomb, like a rose dedicated to a future love. The main shopping street is called Diydowsh Murād and at the corner of the National Museum of Contemporary Art is a framed stone plaque: The Martyr Muhammad Al’araby Ben Mahidy. And—of course—the street is named after him. The Governmental Palace is fenced with pictures of the Group of Twenty Two, and towering over the space is the Martyrs’ Memorial—a giant torrent, defying gravity so that water from the earth can inseminate the water of the sky; a torrent of white blood that rises from the Museum of the Revolution to touch the clouds. A foot stamping down on your lungs, everywhere...
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In The Waiting Line by Gyasi Bing

By Gyasi Byng In 2007, a few weeks after full body scanners were installed in airports, I traveled from West Palm Beach, Florida to Long Island, New York to visit my sister and her children. After taking off my shoes and earrings, I stepped in, put my hands over my head, and let the scanner’s mechanical arms pass over my body. An alarm sounded, indicating that I was possibly carrying some type of suspicious material. Without a word, I was escorted out of the line and into a hallway to receive a full body search. Running her hands through my legs, over my arms, and between my breasts, the female security officer told me that the underwire in my bra had probably set off the alarm. She told me that I was free to go back to the security line and claim my luggage. However, before I could step away, her supervisor eyed me curiously, reached across the other officer, and began to grope my thick curly hair. Once she had finished, the supervisor looked me in the eye and said, “Now you can go.” I was never told explicitly why my hair was searched, but I can only assume...
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