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Global Rights International Magazine Issue #6
LITERATURE IS A RESISTANCE TOOL
SIX INTERVIEWS WITH WRITERS FROM PALESTINE, KURDISTAN AND EELAM
THE POETRY THAT FREES MEN AND PEOPLES
PALESTINE, EELAM, KURDISTAN: THE RELATIVITY OF DISTANCE
J.M. Arrugaeta – O. Casagrande
V.I.S. JAYAPALAN – My poetry reflects the peasants and liberation struggle
Interviewed by H. Jayapalan
HUZAMA HABAYEB – Writing is an urge taking hold of my heart
Interviewed by Marcia L. Qualey
NAYROUZ QARMOUT – Writing about this human being I love so passionately
Interviewed by Orsola Casagrande
REFAAT ALAREER – Literature liberates us from our prejudices
J.M. Arrugaeta – O. Casagrande
TALAL A.S. ABU SHAWISH – Literature is the most civilized tool of resistance
Interviewed by J.M. Arrugaeta – O. Casagrande
HAITHAM HUSSEIN – Memory is a weapon for Kurds
Interviewed by J. M. Arrugaeta – O. Casagrande
Poetry that frees men and peoples
By Sergio Segio
«Playing with the world by tearing it to pieces / children that the sun has already reduced old» sang in the early Seventies Demetrio Stratos, with his Italian band Area, in the song July, August, September (black) dedicated to the drama of the Palestinian people. Also thanks to music and poetry, international indignation and solidarity in those times grew due to the slow strangling of a people, whose organized forces tried, even in the divisions, to struggle for long-term liberation.
Seventy years after the Nakba, the Palestinians still live – or, rather, painstakingly survive – in an unbroken and bloody tragedy, apparently increasingly devoid of solutions, while the participation and condolences of the world have been lost in the last century. The music is turned off. And, as always happens, the tyrants draw more strength from the silence to stifle their victims in the blood.
From September 2000 to the end of 2017, Israel’s rulers killed 10,463 men, women, the elderly and youth of Palestine. In the first four months of 2018 2378 of them were arrested, including 459 minors. In one day, on May 14, 2018, Tsahal’s snipers murdered 59 Palestinians in Gaza, eight were under sixteen, an eight-month-old girl was killed by tear gas. Drones against kites, an unequal and infamous war. Another 49 were killed on March 30, the day the protests began and the “Return March”.
The world, therefore, is increasingly broken and children can no longer become old. The cynical power of Herod now seems unchallenged, there are no weapons or revolts, pressures or appeals capable of restraining him.
When a man is completely stripped of all rights, when a people is deprived of any minimal freedom and is forced to live in a concentration camp like in Gaza, when the lives of millions of people weigh less than a feather, when the the world turns its head from another place, when the only significant diplomatic reaction to the massacres of Gaza comes from another massacre- perpetrator and oppressor of peoples like the Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then, truth and justice seem deceived and disappeared everything seems useless and lost.
Instead, even in these terrible and desperate moments, it is still possible to fight and resist, with the most powerful weapons of all: the word, literature, poetry. Several Palestinian writers and narrators remind us of this issue of “Global Rights”: Talal Abu Shawish, who was born in a refugee camp in Gaza; Refaat Alareer and Nayrouz Qarmout, who still live in Gaza; Huzama Habayeb, born in Kuwait, a Jordanian citizen of Palestinian nationality. And as they are witnessed here by other writers who knew the violence of oppression in Syrian Kurdistan as Haitham Hussein, or in Eelam as V.I.S Jayapalan.
Narrators who have sometimes grown with a stone in one hand, during an Intifada, and a book in the other. The tear gas of repression did not cloud their sight, the violence of the occupation did not silence them. They have made their gaze somewhat sharper, more sharpened their feathers, increased their ability to recount the ordeal, the exodus and the search for freedom and above all have made deep and fruitful their ability to delve into consciences, to remove alibi, to use the power of literature to the full. Poetry has always lived on the barricades and accompanies the revolutions. When they are then betrayed, it fades and goes out, but it never dies. Reborn forever as a phoenix. Surprise in another prison cell, in every other part where humanity is oppressed and tortured, in every place and time in which men and women claim life and dignity.
Born in 1944, in the town of Uduville in the northern province of Sri Lanka, which is the Tamil homeland, known as Eelam. During the 1960s he was associated with radical anti-caste movements and with the Communist Party of Ceylon. He was also a prolific poet, and his poems and short stories have earned him to be considered amongst the finest Eelam Tamil poets of the modern era. He was the first student union president of Jaffna University in the late 1970s, during the early phases of the rising militancy among the Eelam Tamil youth against the national oppression and structural genocide levied by the unitary state. He was also associated with Eelam Tamil militancy, and his literary works reflected some of the dynamics wrought upon the Tamil people and homeland by the decades of national oppression and war.
Born in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on 14 april 1984. A palestinian refugee from her village, Deir Sneid (territories of 1948), she lived in the refugee camp of Yarmouk till she was 10, finishing there her primary school. She finished her studies in Gaza, where she is currently living, as she returned to Palestine at the end of 1994, after the Oslo Peace Agreement. She did her secondary school going from school to school in the Gaza Strip, especially those in the Refugee Camp of Jabalia and finally in the City of Gaza.
Born in 1979 in the Gaza Strip, Shujaya. he was born and raised under occupation, which means “every move I took and every decision I made were influenced (usually negatively) by the Israeli occupation”. he finished a BA in English language and literature from the Islamic University-Gaza in 2001, and a MA in Comparative Literature from University College London (UCL) in 2007. He is currently about to finish a PhD in English Literature at University Putra Malaysia (UPM ). Refaat lives in Gaza with his wife and 6 kids. he teaches world literature and creative writing at the Islamic University-Gaza. As a kid, he says, “I grew up throwing stones at Israeli military Jeeps, flying kites, and reading”.
Talal A.S. Abu Shawish
Born in 1967, in the refugee camp of Nusseirat, located in the center of Gaza, the same year in which Israel launched its “six-day war” occupying Gaza, Cisgiordania and other Arab territories. His childhood was spent in a family expelled from its land, “in the midst of difficulties, death, poverty and loss” as he said. The majority of the displaced people depended on the help of the UNRWA, which was created especially to help them. Talal began his studies in the schools of that institution, continued the pre-university in the occupied area, and later joined the Teacher Training Institute, of the same UNRWA, in Ramallah (West Bank), where he graduated in English. His solid and continuous literary work begins with a trilogy of stories and then passes to the novel. A literary career that he shares with translation, his work as a teacher and, of course, his identity as a Palestinian.
Born in 1978 in Amuda, Syria. he trained as a teacher from the Institute of Arabic Language in Hasakah (1998) before going on to teach Arabic for a year. After that, he went on to serve mandatory military service, which was two and a half years in Syria. this turned out to be a major turning point in HIS life. During the last week of the twentieth century, while humanity was preparing to bid the century farewell and receive another, Haitham was suffering from the pains of his burned body in hospital in the city of Homs.
the growing team
editors: sergio segio – orsola casagrande
editorial team: maider varela – jm arrugaeta bibi bozzato – ednan osman hesen – berna ozgencil yado uzun- félix julio alfonso lópez – vroni plainer simona malatesta – mauro guglielminotti – seamas carraher – marcia lynx qualey – petra probst
photos: mauro guglielminotti – www.guglielminotti.it