hungry eyes, or, the ungendered fighter

author/s to be found

in LOTUS 26-1975

ink: This is the first of our seven fragments. It’s about fighters without gender or “hungry eyes” in Lotus: Afro-Asian Writings, issue no. 26.

ziz: I picked it up from a deep intuition. I remember two friends from Nhà Sàn Collective visited Fehras’s library at the beginning of this year. They were searching for queer contents in the archive that we are collecting. And, the Lotus[1]was spread all over the place. They came close to the collection and they talked about this issue. Last time I was in our atelier thinking about our contribution for Archives of Gestures this issue sparkled. A special one as it was celebrating thirty years of Vietnamese revolution. It was published in 1975 in Cairo. This issue entered the Fehras library last November 2023. Finding Lotus began in 2018. This copy we received from a loyal archives collector who works in Alexandria. Lotus caught his eyes for the first time because it reminded him of his fiance who has the same name. Interestingly in this issue no. 26, there are some of the pages cut. This is how we received it. The cut of these pages is connecting different poems to each other.

ink: Sometimes the gaps are dense with connections. We see what is missing but can only imagine it, not yet know it. Instead we can read between the pages without having to follow the linearity of the page flow.

ziz: Important to say that this issue is a special release because it is not only dedicated to the Vietnamese revolution but also reviving memories of Afro-Asian Solidarity Movement from Bandung Conference in 1955 through its different trajectories, meetings, conferences and activities. So poem page no. 36 is connected with the poem on page no. 38 and poem on page no. 40.

ink: Who wrote this poem? And the ones on the following pages? Are the names cut out?

ziz: The names of poets are mentioned in the table of content of the issue except the names of the poets and the titles of their poems on these cut pages. They appear suddenly through the studies section of the magazine between two articles. One about the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet and the other one about Indian writer Sajjad Zaheer.

ziz: This is the poem about the ungendered fighter.

[Reads and translates spontaneously]

They are not men

They are not women

They are not girls and boys

But they are crooked trees

They are not men

They are not women

They are not girls or boys,

But mobile lumps of clay

From fertile soil

ink: And the poem title says fighters without gender, or how does it translate?

ziz: No. This is my interpretation. The title translates to “hungry eyes”. We will be receiving the English edition of this issue very soon so we hopefully know the names of the authors and the missed words in the titles of the poems. Who knows? Maybe Nazim Hikmat wrote this poem in solidarity with the Vietnamese revolution!

ink: I like the poem because through humans being nature they are liberated from the binary gender regime it seems. The poem reminds me of a film by Marwa Arsanios “Who Was Afraid of Ideology” where she goes to speak with different fighters of the Kurdish women's resistance. They talk about how the trees, the mountains, the stones, the animals, are their comrades in the fight, that they're also part of the resistance. The film once inspired a conversation with the healer, activist and midwife Ina Röder-Sissoko where she talked about how to be connected with and in nature is a form of resistance, as a form of fighting. It was published with Marwa’s film in D’EST[2].

ziz: You know ink, the non-binary system is embedded in one way or another in Lotus magazine as a print-body. There is no front cover and back cover in the traditional sense as it was published in three languages separately and always had its title in the three languages, the Arabic on one side and the English and the French on another side. So you have to hold the magazine between your hands and open it to know the language.

[1] To read more about Fehras’ finding journey of Lotus and the trajectories of the magazine:

[2] D’EST: Signals From Roots To Leaves: A post-botanical assembly

The Language of Plants https: //