REVIEW: “Final Warning” by Talal Abu Shawish

Review of Talal Abu Shawish, Mohamed Ghalaieny (trans.), “Final Warning”, in Basma Ghalayini, ed., Palestine+100, (Comma Press, 2019): 161-169 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

Every morning the citizens of Ramallah bathe their eyes in the rising sunlight. No one expects a morning to come when the sun doesn’t rise. There is no light, there is no power, electronics do not work, engines do not work, everything in the city has come to a standstill. Apocalypse has come.

But only to Palestine. A message comes to the region: “Cut it out” (p. 168). The earth’s rotation will be restored, the power of electron-based energy will be restored — but only when the borders are redrawn and everyone commits to justice. This isn’t just about Palestine, though: This is the only way to prevent the entire galaxy from succombing to nihilism.

Ramallah is a multi-faith city, filled with Muslims, Christians, and Jews, as well as athiests, and Abu Shawish explores the ways in which the end of the world is interpreted through each of the three lenses.

Two footnotes explain to the non-Arabic-speaking reader some terminology left untranslated.