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October 17, 2008


Hi Leila,
Don't know if this helps, but "zulfa" refers to part of the night, or more accurately, the first part of the night. There's also an expression "zalafa ila" which means approached, but I think she's just doing a wordplay on the "Leila" bit. Pretty smart wordplay if you ask me, especially that her daughter's name is Zelfa!

Thanks, anonymous blogger. I'm hoping for a full translation of the whole thing from somebody...

Laila Abu-Lughod spent years in the desert taping the songs of Bedouin women. Our Arab women do very well with wordplay and poetry in song. I wish some energetic anthropology student (preferably a native Arabic speaker) would document the songs and wedding chants of women of the Levant.

"I'm hoping for a full translation of the whole thing from somebody..."

Oh, sorry, I didn't translate the whole word because I didn't know how to. The word zulfa isn't a verb, and I'm not sure how it can be translated as a verb since it means part of the night... But this is the context : "you (plural you) [insert verb in past tense here] us (or to us)". Hm..

"I wish some energetic anthropology student (preferably a native Arabic speaker) would document the songs and wedding chants of women of the Levant."

Yup! But hasn't it been done before? I don't know anything about this subject so I don't know if anyone has undertaken such a project!

I'm not that anonymous! I'm a veteran blogger. :) I used to read your blog a long time ago, but then I took a 1-year break from blogging and from checking the blogosphere, and got back to blogging not long ago, except that lately I find I'm not in the mood to write anything, so my blog hasn't all that active... I used to do "Blogging the Middle East" (did extensive reporting during the July 2006 war), then changed to Street: Middle East, and now The Politburo... :)

Extra charming! Your blog has it all: political commentary, recipes, music.


You look radiant! And very much like Umm-Camille. I am glad you went to lebanon and your native south. And October is the best time to visit.

Take care,


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