|AVIVA BUTT was born in New York City. Her father Kurt H. Langsam was a linguist and artist. While growing up, she
studied music first in New York City and then at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music in Australia. She lost interest
in a musical career after falling in love with Eastern music. After obtaining a BA 1st Class Honours and MA 1st Class
Honours in Semitic Studies at the University of Sydney, she started to work with Arabic scholars to translate short
stories and poems. Trying her own hand at creative writing, she now writes screenplays. She also writes about and
translates poems from Arabic.
During the writing and rewriting of her first screenplay LOVE UNDER AN UMBRELLA, she was encouraged and
helped by many friends in the industry. Bearing witness to this is the inclusion of four original poems written for this
screenplay by Iraqi poet, playwright and artist RAMMAHI (See Short Biography below).
She co-wrote ENTRENCHED, also a feature film, with Hayder Al Shallal, Iraqi actor, director and academic. Drawing
on her love for India, she wrote a short screenplay DAZZLING WARES. Her screenplay IN BLOOD I COME, depicts
the chaotic scene in the Middle East after the last Gulf War. In 2011 Aviva completed the first draft of another feature
film script on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with New Zealand locations entitled BLUE MIST.
Aviva writes original poems and short stories. Working with Reuven Snir, scholar and Arabic literary critic, she has
been involved in some of his projects. She has contributed to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.
Recently she has worked on Reuven Snir's projects, Baghdad: The City in Verse (HUP 2013) and his book Who
Needs Arab-Jewish Identity: Interpellation, Exclusion, and Inessential Solidarities (Brill 2015).
She has in the past three years worked on a translations of Reuven Snir's books Adonis: Index to the Acts of the
Wind (2012) and Darwish: Fifty Years of Poetry (2015), and is currently writing articles and a book on the Arabic
poets Salim Barakat and Mahmud Darwish.
She has recently written a screenplay entitled FEWER ROSES, a theatrical documentary on the latter part of the life
of the Palestinian National Poet Mahmoud Darwish.
|No. 3 Rammahi's Baghdad poem.
For a translation see the Anthology of the book:
Baghdad: The City in Verse
Edited and Translated and Introduced
by Reuven Snir
Publisher: Harvard University Press, 2013
In this book, the English title is Baghdad, Sing! by
Abid Ali al-Rammahi
Ten years and I gladden my lover with gold washed in tears
With what won’t discourage and won’t be pointless
I am anointed with the sweet scent of the ripened vine that drips fresh affection on its parts
I beg the soldier not to advance on unfortunate people sacrifices to a goddess who eats
Her children when she’s hungry
And when I grappled with him I sniffed the smell of blame flowing from his garments
As for him he felt my regret since he felt my fingers thrust into his back and I clasped him to me
These are my brethren our people and they have amassed their flags and their spears as if created for slaughtering us
As if our heads were created to be cut down by our cousins then held high on
So their flags are adorned with calamity and covered in abuses
I see their marching legions and I say: They are my cousins
They have my appearance and the sparkle of my eyes
But the sparkle of their daggers has nothing of the sparkle of my rings and warmth of my arms opened affectionately
To embrace emptiness
How lonely I am
بغداد عاشقتي و قاتلتي واغنيتي ولحني
يا الف اغنية على مليون فم
بغداد مريم ان تهز بجذع نخلتها تساقط تمر هم
بغداد سنبلة تنوء بحبة الذهب العجيبه
بغداد مركب سندباد يجوب انهار البلاد
والف ليل مر كالسحب الغريبه
انثى تشمم عطرها الخلفاء
ثم توارت الدنبا و لازالت كنخلة بيتنا
بغداد ماذنة موشحة بانواع العذاب
بغداد ليل بالنجوم مسور
ومطوق بجنى النخيل
بغداد انثى تستحم بماء دجلة
تستضي بصمت انوار الفوانيس المضيئة
بغداد عاشقتي و قاتلتي و لحني
|بالدموععشرةُ أعوامٍ وأنا اترضى معشوقتي بالذهب المغسول
بما لا يصدأُ ولا يجف
جوانبهالطريةُ علىأتمسحُ بهودج العرس الناضح بالطيب وقد تقاطرتْ الحناءُ
تأكلاشلائهقرابين لأِلهةٍ أتوسل الى الجندي الا يقدم اطفاله الطالعين من
ابنائها عندما تجوع
ومآزرهِوحين عانقتُه شممتُ رائحة العتاب تتدفق من اثوابه
احتضنهظهره وانااما هو فقد احس لهفتي مذ احس باصابعي مغرورزةً في
خُلقوا ليذبحوناهؤلاءِ ابناءُ عمومتنا وقد حشدوا راياتهم ورماحهم كأنما
فوهاتيرفعونها علىكأنما رؤؤسنا لم تُخلق الا ليحصدها ابناءُ عمومتنا ثم
هكذا رايتُهم مدججين بالنحاس الصدئ وملثمين بالشتائم
أ شهد زحف جحافلهم فاقول : ابناءُ عمومتي
لهم سحنتي وبريقُ عيني
الممدوتين بحنوٍودفءَ ذراعيالا بريق خناجرهم فليس فيه شئ ٌيشبه بريق خواتمي
ـ كم انت وحيد
|RAMMAHI (Abid Ali al-Rammahi) WROTE 4 ORIGINAL POEMS IN ARABIC for Aviva Butt's screenplay Love
Under an Umbrella. They are very sorrowful poems reflecting the experiences and feelings of an Iraqi refugee.
They are written in literary Arabic using various forms and could be sung accompanied by music. The last
two poems are as follows:
|Original Arabic by Rammahi No. 3
Original Arabic by Rammahi No. 4
Granddaughter of lead Shakespearean actress
(Australia) Lillian Meyers and Gerald F Bacon,
producer of 5 black and white silent motion pictures
from 1915-1920 in the USA. See
Aviva Butt.Gifts from an Empty Suitcase and Other Short Stories: And Twenty Poems. (SBPRA 2012).
Aviva Butt. On Screenwriting and Love and Politics: The Screenplay "Blue Mist" (Introduction by Gaetano
Nino Martinetti, ACS. (SBPRA 2013).
Aviva Butt. Poets from a War Torn World (Four essays by Aviva Butt with Introduction by Reuven Snir)
Short Stories in translation.
Aviva Butt, trans., When Mrs. Fatma Kissed Me by Professor Shmuel Moreh in the Sephardic Heritage Update,
Issue 238 (2006) online.
Aviva Butt and Reuven Snir, trans. The Cellar by Ishaq Bar-Moshe in Appendix of R. Snir, When time stopped: Ishaq
Bar-Moshe as Arab-Jewish Writer in Israel. See muse.jhu.edu/journals/jewish_social_studies
Aviva Butt and Reuven Snir, trans. The Artist and the Felafel by Sami Michael in the Appendix of Reuven Snir's book
Who Needs Arab-Jewish Identity: Interpellation, Exclusion, and Inessential Solidarities (Brill 2015).
Aviva Butt. Empire, Split Identities, and an Explosion of Poetryin IJOKS (International Journal of Kurdish Studies)
Eighth edition (Jan. 2018).
Aviva Butt. Sacred Texts and the Arabic Poetry of Mahmud Darwish.
ArchivOrientalni, vol. 86, no.1. (May 2018).
Aviva Butt. The Unimaginative Symbols of Salim Barakat. International Journal of Kurdish Studies 4 (2), 294–308.
doi:10.21600/ijoks.454197. IJOKS (Aug. 2018).
Aviva Butt. Salim Barakat's Intermediary Existence: His Poem Mahmud Darwish. International Journal of Kurdish
Studies 5 (1), 328 – 358 doi: 10.21600/ ijoks.516511 (January 2019)
|RAMMAHI (Abid Ali al-Afrawi, known as Abid Ali al-Rammahi) comes from Southern Iraq, but his studies took him to Baghdad
where he attended Baghdad University Fine Arts Academy and studied drawing, painting and photography. While still at
university, in 1989 he established a young poets group (Moltaqa al-Odaba al-Shabab), and published his poems in various
newspapers. He completed his first volume of poems which was approved by the Ministry of Media for publication. After the
Gulf War of 1991, in which he joined the Iraqi uprising opposing the dictator, he was to heroically continue his writing career
within the confines of the Rafha refugee detention center situated in the desert between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. During this four
year period, with two friends, he established a theatrical group (al-Taf al-Mahajir) and wrote 12 stage plays for it, some of
which were later published in al-Noor magazine (London).
Finding himself in Toronto Canada, Rammahi went on publishing in newspapers and journals such as Azzaman, al-Noor, Kolko
Shai, Sawt al-Iraq and so forth, as well as publishing his own literary journal in Arabic. He made a living as a website designer
and designed theatrical stage sets. At the same time he furthered his education in art and drama at the Ontario College of Art
and Design, and then did courses at Windsor University. He became known for his watercolors and oil paintings.
In 2002, Rammahi composed 4 sung poems in Arabic for use in the screenplay LOVE UNDER AN UMBRELLA written by Aviva
Butt with poetry by Rammahi. They were intended to be sung in Arabic with English subtitles.
Rammahi left Canada after the Second Gulf War, returned to Iraq, at times living and working in Kuwait mainly making cartoon
animations. From 2007, he worked independently as a Cube7 graphics company. Together with Abd al-Nasser al-Zayer director
of Super Star Media Productions, Kuwait, a first joint production was completed in February 2008 – a 2D animation series for
children titled HAMMOUD. It was shown on Oman T.V. :
HAMMOUD. A naughty kid is straightened out.
Writer: Abd al-Nasser al-Zayer
Backgrounds, drawings, animation: Rammahi
Rammahi (now sometimes shown in the credits as “Ali Rammahi”) subsequently worked as CUBE7CARTOON as artist, and
sometimes as director and writer together with Abd al-Nasser al-Zayer and also with the well-known children's writer Alaa al-
Jaber. He has also worked as graphics in an after effects program. He has done cartoon animations together with Manaf
Abdal, managing director of Direct Media, a prominent Kuwaiti distribution company. Examples of his work may be seen on
|Animations by Ali Rammahi
|Cartoon animations by Ali Rammahi
|After seeing Ali Rammahi’s cartoon animation with 3
fish for the title of Viva: Zest for Life, on 2 June
2012, I wrote:
The flow of the river
Three fish tumbling over
Zest for life
A fragile power
United with Heaven
May the City below
Fade away to naught
Or vanish as it did
In Noah’s time—
The landscape levelled
Floods of water
|Aviva Butt was born in New York City. Her father Kurt H Langsam
was a linguist and an artist. . . . Her paternal grandfather Emerich
B. Langsam spoke and wrote Hebrew. His family went from Poland
to Vienna. . . Aviva's maternal grandfather Gerald F Bacon
produced 5 silent films (dramas) in 1915-1920 in Hollywood . . .