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  • Welcome to ALT Magazine & Press: Hazawi Prize Announces 2023 Shortlist: (Sana'a, Yemen) - The shortlist for the 2023 Hazawi Prize for Yemeni Literature has been revealed, announcing the ten writers who have been selected as finalists for this prestigious award.
  • Now in its second yearly round, the Hazawi Prize recognizes exceptional contributions to fiction in Yemeni literature. Organized by the Hazawi Cultural Foundation, this annual prize aims to promote Yemeni literature and support creative writers.
  • This year's shortlist features both emerging and renowned Yemeni authors. The ten works advancing to the final round of judging are:
  • - Abdullah Faisal shortlisted for his novel, Spirits and Secrets.
  • - Aisha Saleh shortlisted for her novel, Under the Ashes
  • - Farouk Merish shortlisted for his novel, A Dignified Stranger
  • - Ahmed Ashraf shortlisted for his novel, A Painful Belt
  • - Ghassan Khalid shortlisted for his novel, A Sky that Rains Fear
  • - Hosam Adel shortlisted for his novel, The Lord of the Black Dog
  • - Asmaa Abdulrazak shortlisted for her novel, Shrapnels
  • - Abdullah Abdu Muhammad shortlisted for his novel, The Road to Sana'a
  • - Najah Bahkeim shortlisted for her novel, The Final Decision
  • - Samir AbdulFattah shortlisted for her novel, What We Cannot See
  • The winner will be revealed at an award ceremony in Sana'a later where they will receive $1,500 USD. Second and third prizes of $1,000 USD each will also be awarded. All shortlisted works are celebrated for chronicling Yemen's rich culture and wartime experiences. This prestigious prize continues highlighting the nation's thriving literary community.

Hitler Goes to Paradise – A Short Story by Wajdi Al-Ahdal – translated by Hatem Al-Shamea

A bizarre occurrence arose – I felt no shame over my nakedness! Not even my personal doctor had ever seen me in such a state. Yet she gazed upon me without discomfort. We were in a room that outwardly resembled a phone booth in size but inwardly was spacious like the fortified headquarters of our consultancy and army leadership in Berlin.
I studied her rainbow eyes, mesmerized – the pupil of her right eye was violet while gradually shading to pale around the edges. Her left iris blended colors from darkest indigo to light in concentric circles. I desired to embrace her but she withdrew, winked at me and gestured to follow. We exited the shop appearing small from outside yet vast within, resembling my protected redoubt for strategy and command in the German capital.
She led me not to converse, but I fixated on her eyes. Our guides addressed topics – my mind focused solely on her dual jewels. I sought a likeness in vain, fascinated endlessly. This was the female I required to substantiate Aryan supremacy! What hysteria upon opposing faces should I kidnap and somehow spirit her, achieving through some means the return journey! The messiah of the Aryan race resurrected with a towering companion and glimpsed in Berlin – what shock to visages worldwide!
We passed commodities emporia boasting rainbow stock worth sovereigns within yet transient without, resembling my intelligence agency’s armored haven in the city. I studied her orbs donning hues from blackest indigo lighting gently around rims. Her left iris joined spectrums from deep sapphire to pale in concentric hoops. I longed to grasp yet she withdrew, winked and gestured follow. We exited what resembled small without yet housed largely within like intelligence citadel in Berlin.
The difference in our heights appeared as we walked, so that I appeared beside her like a child accompanying its mother. I asked her name, and she said: “Eve.” I gazed at her, unable to be sated in contemplating her charms, and she would steal glances at me from the corner of her eye and smile and cavort in her walk.. I realized I had fallen utterly in love, even to my ears.
I noticed the light was striped—extending in columns like bars—so I looked to the sky and was amazed, counting the suns and turning to the four directions, recounting them. They observed me, then smiled simultaneously. I said to my companion perplexed: “Is what I see real.. and do the suns seem to laugh in my face?!” She asked me: “Did you count them?” I said uncertainly: “Twenty-two.” She shook her head gently: “Well done.. the twenty-third sun will rise when the devil hatches from the egg.”
We walked in a barren valley, its earth clay-colored mud, with rocks and black gravel and a slight tint of green, surrounded by towering jagged mountains the color of eggplant upon which the suns’ glow was reflected alternately, distracting attention.
I began to feel comfort in my new clothes, tailored to suit my bodily proportions. I ventured and asked her: “Were you the one whose voice I heard calling me when I pressed on the pistol’s trigger?”. She stopped walking and turned to face me: “No.. it was our most magnificent King who called you personally”. When the King’s story came from her lips, the colors shone more brightly in her pupils.
She stopped by a rock of distinctive pyramidal appearance and said: “This is your home”. An incredulous laugh escaped me: “This.. are you joking?!”. She said, circling the rock no larger than a lemon: “Put your hand or foot in it and you will thank the Redeemer who has bestowed you in this great abode”. I raised my feet, intending to place them on the rock, hearing her bidding farewell: “A happy residence!”. And no sooner had the sole of my foot touched the rock than I found myself in a land other than the one I had been in.
I realized I stood on a path paved with gold, in a manicured garden extending endlessly to the horizon like a planet. The air was fresh, rich with oxygen and scented with musk and jasmine. The sky was azure bright with clarity, light radiating from outside its dome. I walked, marveling at the beauty surrounding me. The trees were all of uniform height, and each bore fruits unlike any other, and the grass trimmed with utmost care and rippling gently.
The avenue led and at its end loomed a magnificent pyramidal palace, from which shone millions of colors bringing joy to the beholder’s heart. I hastened toward it, fascinated by its architectural elaboration, entirely covered by mosaic unveiling scenes containing many symbols, distinguishing among them the intertwined cross, and numbers perhaps related to the Fibonacci sequence and alphabets I knew not, and images of animals with human heads, and humans with animal heads, one with a human body and the head of an ape, that very monstrosity I had clearly seen with my own eyes when I directed my gaze to the ceiling simultaneously with the bullet exiting my skull.
High in the pyramid close to its peak, I recognized my picture! I confess my body was assailed by a shudder of terrible fear when my eyes fell upon the features of my face. I was in the retinue surrounding a throne of a king concealing his face under a mask. I wondered, had all things been predetermined including my becoming the führer of the Third Reich and doing as I had done in fulfillment of fate’s will?! I understood I come and strike whenever the Lord’s wrath is incited, and that I am the “Nebuchadnezzar” mace disciplining the peoples of the earth.
I entered the palace and ventured to explore it. The walls were green and smooth, revealing what lay behind, and likewise was the floor green rising with bumps like coffee beans, exhaling a refreshing fragrant mist when trod upon, granting the walker a sense of comfort and warmth.
There was absolutely no furniture whatsoever, and not even dust existed, for the halls and chambers gleamed from cleanliness. I thought this dwelling ill-suited us humans, for we require rugs and beds and cushy chairs, we require kitchen utensils and diningware and radios and newspapers, we require possessions with no beginning or end to feel we are human and alive! I knew not how these folk lived in such palaces empty of comforts and entertainment.
I wished to protest like a duped hotel guest, thinking resentfully even if this be paradise it would not be endured more than five minutes! I wanted a mirror to see my face, knew not how to obtain one, soured of mood and began yelling blasphemously. Suddenly an diamond phone hovered in the air supported by naught and no cord connecting it. I raised the phone receiver and pressed the sole available digit “1”. A smooth viscous voice replied: “Welcome, we wish you a happy residence.”
I said with a voice like thunder: “Is this the administration responsible for paradise?”. The smooth voice replied: “Yes, sir, all your requests shall be met immediately.”
I provided millions of varieties of chocolate and sweets to the illustrious Lord Adolf Hitler, and a retinue of ten thousand maids and manservants placed at his disposal to attend to him and ensure his comfort. The “Führer Academy of Visual Arts” was established, and he appointed its dean. A multitude exceeding ten million souls had been granted to him to deliver his fiery nationalist speeches to.

He and his enthused supporters were permitted to print the swastika symbol on the walls and pavements of paradise, as well as hoist Nazi banners over its gates, and many other acts of propaganda, whereupon tolerance was shown for his transgressions.
The damsel Eve was now coaxed to his palace named “Wolf’s Lair” and had intimacy forced upon her—for bodily contact in the Abode of Eternity is forbidden—and was detained there without leave to depart at all, and his deed was covered.
He said he could not live without a seer, so the seer Silba was sent to be at his disposal. He requested immense quantities of rifles, ammunition, planes, tanks and heavy artillery, whereupon his request was granted without slightest hesitation.
He established the intelligence agency “Heaven–Stabo” to monitor unauthorized infiltrators, and record behavioral observations of the populace, whereupon none objected to him.
He founded the special unit “N.N” tasked with tracking non-human races classified as lower aliens, and directed their arrest in secret camps and annihilation by suffocation in gas furnaces, yet none dared expose him..
He expanded control over the wireless networks “Net” above and “Notis” below, and began preparing revolt. He consulted the seer Silba expressing his intentions obscurely, who said his astrological fate bore a positive sign for him to await its appearance, and clarified that the stellar explosion occurring in the constellation “Tree of Immortality” would grant him boundless power.
On the date designated by the seer, Adolf Hitler launched a devastating attack with tanks and planes on the royal palace, while a million armed soldiers stormed the royal palace penetrating to the earlobes, yet finding no resistance.
Having secured the place and completed control over it, Hitler advanced alone to the inner sanctum bearing only his personal pistol. With a wide determined gait reflecting courage and an iron will hammering the earth, he approached dignified with chest protruding outwardly, hand on the pistol holster prepared for any contingency. He found no one.. He meticulously searched the place and found a transparent emerald box within holding a paper scrap.. That same malign doubt assailed him again, so he crumpled the folded scrap and read its contents.. A heavy snort of breath burst from his nostrils, he tightly pressed the scrap in his palm then hurled it, began furiously kicking the emerald box uttering incoherent speech, and eventually drew his pistol, loaded it and inserted its muzzle in his mouth cursing everyone complicit in the conspiracy, then pressed the trigger.
The annals state this incident no sooner ends than it begins again. They say there it is an eternal drama, yet each time it is replayed it appears more amusing and suspenseful than its precedents.

A Coffee Cup on the Edge of Chaos – Entesar Asseri – 2023

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