“Arabic made Palestine the subject of my life.” Bulgarian Arabist Maya Tsenova on her memories of Al Jazeera and the Iraq War | Culture

Bulgarian translator and scholar Maya Tsenova said, “The Palestinian issue is defending itself. It is enough that we give it a chance to speak, although the contemporary world would rather forget it and turn a blind eye to it. In this way, October 7 has arrived, But this is not the beginning.”

Speaking to Al Jazeera, the lecturer at the Department of Arabic and Semitic Studies at the Faculty of Arabic at Sofia University added that she personally began working on the case in the summer of 1976, at the end of her first year of study. She studied Arabic at Sofia University and was interested in news focusing on the Holocaust. Thyme Hill She is busy with summer college exams and organizing solidarity festivals with Palestine and Lebanon.

Cenova believes that Arabic has given her “problems in my life or problems in my life,” noting that as a translator she uses the precise meaning of words, noting that translation and acculturation play a key role in establishing Arab role as a bridge between Bulgarians and Bulgarians, despite the fact that some are keen on distance and neutrality, he added, “I always try to find common moral values ​​and what makes me most happy is when one of my readers told me Arabs are just like us.”

“The Seventh Neighbor”

Cenova recalled her work as a translator at the Lebanese embassy, ​​when the Lebanese ambassador used to say “neighbors in the seventh house,” noting that Bulgaria is one of its neighbors in the Arab world, along with Turkey. Between the two, it is shown that Bulgaria and the Arab world were part of the Mediterranean or “Eastern Mediterranean” civilization. Bulgaria and the Arab world are part of one country (referring to a shared Ottoman history) and have very strong relations. “Whoever fails to realize the need to restore these relationships will be a huge loser.”

Tsenova translated into Bulgarian the works of Gibran Khalil Gibran, Mahmoud Darwish, Adonis and others, and he believed that translation is “a creative work, not a profession and is not considered an art”, noting that Orientalism in Bulgaria is a modern or contemporary result.

She explained that Arabic teaching in Bulgaria began in the late sixties and early seventies, noting that the reason was that Bulgaria was not a colonial country but was in a new historical environment represented by the independence of former colonies, so it sought to expand The range of possibilities for fruitful international relations in every country.

Translators paraphrased the works of Arab poets and writers from Palestine, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere. He pointed out that Arabic professors in Bulgaria are graduates of universities in Baghdad, Damascus and Moscow.

Al Jazeera and the Iraq War

Talking about her memories of Al Jazeera and the war in Iraq, she said they knew her from the street and when she went to the store to buy bread, people would come to me to express their support. “I don't know how to express that.” Supported by Al Jazeera. “

She explains: “In 2003, when war broke out and Iraq was occupied, I was assigned by Bulgarian national television, which had had contracts with Al Jazeera and CNN since the beginning of the war and relied on journalists from these two international channels , and based on this agreement, they assigned me and an English translator to follow Al Jazeera’s bulletins to cover the war.”

She continued, “We had three briefings a day, going through one-minute to two-minute briefings that included the most important things that were being reported on both channels about the developments in the war.” She added, “I was doing it almost day and night. Nights and nights live with them.” Al Jazeera needs to be prepared not only to immediately translate what appears on the screen, but also to know what it is. “That's the most important thing in 24 hours.”

Cenova described the events of the era she covered as “very traumatic events, and when I saw an American soldier riding the first tank into Baghdad without resistance, I thought I stopped paying attention,” It was like entering a summer resort…very painful. “

She said with emotion: “A journalist died in the line of work… Tariq Ayoub May God have mercy on him.”

Translation is creativity, not a profession

Regarding the difficulties of translation between Bulgarian and Arabic, she said, “The difficulties are traditional, just like any other language, creativity is a hard job, but there is no text that cannot be translated. All peoples of the world live In the same country.” Reality despite differences, so everything that happens on earth can be expressed in any language. “World Language”.

The translator, who studies and publishes on Arabic proverbs, said she was delighted when Bulgarian readers saw the similarities between their culture and the Arabs, continuing, “We have friends in Sofia who founded the Middle East and the North African Festival (Tower) aims to promote cultural integration and reconciliation among the people, and each year they choose a festival theme.”

She said: “One year, the focus was on women's films. Before the film was released, they asked me if I could read poems by Arab female poets for a quarter of an hour. I agreed and was very happy. After reading, the audience asked me: How can we read these Word?”

She continued: “I went to the Palestinian ambassador and said to him: We are grateful to the Bulgarian readers, they are interested and we care to meet it. Therefore, the book “The Loneliness Called Home” was published, a book by 40 An anthology by 20 Palestinian writers about the alienation Palestinians feel in the interior, in refugee camps and in the diaspora, and their indomitable journey towards home, which they find. “Home is in the soul and in the heart. “

Cenova dedicated this literary anthology to 40 women writers and considered it “an attempt to reconstruct loneliness on the road to the creation of a homeland.” In 1994, she translated Other Contemporary Palestinians under names selected by the Palestinian Writers' Union Anthology of poetry, including 25 Palestinian poets, including 3 female poets.

Cenova went on to talk about translating male and female Arab poets, saying: “In Doha, more coincidentally than a thousand dates, I met the Kuwaiti poet Saadia Mufreh, and we discovered the connection between us. An intimacy, as if we had grown up together. I translated samples of her Bulgarian poems from decades ago and I didn’t know how to convey them to her.”

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