Monthly Archives: July 2017

Winner of PANDA’s Writing Competition!

‘Congratulations! You have been picked by our judges as a winner of PANDA’s writing competition!’, was a great opening line to an email I received today. 

Apparently there were many strong entries and the judges felt that my piece, ‘Self’, had the most potential and showed creative excellence alongside ‘Chelsea’ by Paul Holliday and ‘Mother, Daughter, Stranger’  by Rose van Leyenhorst which I am looking forward to reading. 

So, what’s next? PANDA’s first book will be published in October and we writers will be published alongside each other, in a book of wisdom about the arts, created by PANDA and its members. I feel very happy I must say! 
So please watch this space – onwards & upwards! 🙂 

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TAHA – An Amer Hlehel, Young Vic and Shubbak Festival co-production – The Lowry, 1/7/17 

Tonight I went to see the extremely moving lyrical story of Palestinian poet Taha Muhammed Ali at The Lowry,  written & superbly performed by actor and director Amer Hlehel. 

Directed by Amir Nizar Zuabi – author of ‘I am Yousuf & This is My Brother’ who some of you may recognise as the very first Palestinian author we explored for our ‘Platform For Palestinian Arts’ project last year, the play tells the story of Taha’s expulsion from his home in Galilee and the subsequent reality of war his family faces. 

Themes of love, loss, trauma and survival were explored as in many narratives of displacememt but it was Amer Hlehel’s ability to take the audience through what I can only describe as a visceral experience that truly brought this writing to life. 

I thoroughly recommend catching this in London, one of the highlights of which was hearing the recital of Taha Muhammed Ali’s beautiful poem at the end of the play called ‘Revenge’. 


Revenge

At times … I wish 

I could meet in a duel 

the man who killed my father 

and razed our home, 

expelling me 

into 

a narrow country. 

And if he killed me, 

I’d rest at last, 

and if I were ready— 

I would take my revenge! 
But if it came to light, 

when my rival appeared, 

that he had a mother 

waiting for him, 

or a father who’d put 

his right hand over 

the heart’s place in his chest 

whenever his son was late 

even by just a quarter-hour 

for a meeting they’d set— 

then I would not kill him, 

even if I could. 
Likewise … I 

would not murder him 

if it were soon made clear 

that he had a brother or sisters 

who loved him and constantly longed to see him. 

Or if he had a wife to greet him 

and children who 

couldn’t bear his absence 

and whom his gifts would thrill. 

Or if he had 

friends or companions, 

neighbours he knew 

or allies from prison 

or a hospital room, 

or classmates from his school … 

asking about him 

and sending him regards. 
But if he turned 

out to be on his own— 

cut off like a branch from a tree— 

without a mother or father, 

with neither a brother nor sister, 

wifeless, without a child, 

and without kin or neighbours or friends, 

colleagues or companions, 

then I’d add not a thing to his pain 

within that aloneness— 

not the torment of death, 

and not the sorrow of passing away. 

Instead I’d be content 

to ignore him when I passed him by 

on the street—as I 

convinced myself 

that paying him no attention 

in itself was a kind of revenge.
by Taha Muhammad Ali