Saturday, 1 December 2012

An evening with Ibrahim Nasrallah

Very few prominent Arab writers managed to combine literary excellence with deep-rooted humane principles and Ibrahim Nasrallah is certainly one of them. Meeting the author of  "The Time of White Horses" was an unmissable opportunity to get a close-up of yet another poignant Palestinian voice.
Nasrallah, as a product of the Palestinian struggle, is arguably the first writer who attempted and succeeded in transforming the many years of occupation, deportation and repression into a coherent and highly admired literary epic.

Nasrallah was invited by the History Department at Sheffield University to give a talk entitled "On Writing the Palestinian Historical Novel".  The academic nature of Nasrallah's invitation didn't prevent him from connecting with the diverse audience straight away, "heart to heart and mind to mind", as he said.

Nasrallah, as you would expect from a writer of his caliber, has an astonishing ability of forging very simple yet compelling sentences that  conveyed his message in an effortlessly beautiful way. His striking modesty and warm presence gives another dimension to his insightful words. Ibrahim Nasrallah writes for the human, irrespective of religion, race or nationality and that is exactly what makes him so special and so admired. The battle of Palestine, for him, is nothing but a battle for humanity, a battle that will eventually be victorious. That night, I had taken home  many of Nasrallah's thoughts, amongst which, one summarised the man: "I became more conscious of the suffering of other people so began to understand mine better..."