Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Why shutdown a lit fest?

Israeli soldiers tried to shut down a Palestinian literary festival, reports Matthew Rothschild in The progressive. The festival was supported by British Council and UNESCO, among others:

The Israeli government sent in troops on May 23 to try to break up the opening of the second annual Palestine Festival of Literature in East Jerusalem.

Stephanie Saldana, an American writer living in Jerusalem, went to the Palestinian National Theater for what she thought was going to be the opening of the festival.

“We arrived and the place was swarming with the Israeli army, with trucks and huge guns,” she wrote in an e-mail to a friend. “I am still in shock. To ban literature? To ban reading? How is this possible?”

Here is another report from The Guardian:

"We're so taken aback. It's is completely, completely independent," Egyptian novelist Soueif, who is chairing the Palestine Festival of Literature, said.

"I think it's very telling," she told the crowd at the French centre. "Our motto, which is taken from the late Edward Said, is to pit the power of culture against the culture of power."

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