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Assassinating Story – An Oral Telling of Stories

Sunday, November 27, 2016 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

| $5

Reviving the Palestinian Voice

What of the story of Palestine?  This story as all stories is first and foremost about voice or giving voice to an experience so that it can be shared.  We live and experience only with and through others and  voice is the most common means of communicating.   Voice expresses our life, our dilemmas, our challenges, our sorrows and our joys.  Voice is the essence of being, becoming and staying human.  What if that story is silenced?  If that particular voice is not allowed to be heard?

Too often this has been the fate of the story told by Palestinian writers, poets and artists. Killed, assassinated in their prime and before they could make their full contribution.  Beit Zatoun offers short stories from two of Palestine’s greatest writers and lovers of freedom – Ghassan Kanafani and Majed Abu Sharar.   The stories are told by Sarah Abusarar, a professional storyteller and a Palestinian who is bringing a unique Palestinian voice to Toronto and Turtle Island.

The Writers
Majed Abu Sharar was a Palestinian thinker, writer and resistance leader. Born in Doura (near Hebron) on August 15, 1934, he was one of 15 founders of Fatah and member of its Central Committee. He was serving as the head of the unified information department of the PLO when he was killed by a remote control bomb on October 9, 1981 in his hotel room in Rome where he had been attending a conference for solidarity with Palestinian authors and intellectuals.  He was considered a leading Palestinian fiction writer.

In his stories, Majed Abu Sharar focused on the problems and sufferings of the poor, an outlook that was missing from the writings of other writers in the era.  His style of writing is considered very simple and reflective and dedicated to all sectors of society and not to an elite. Majed lived and died for a cause. He said, to repeat a phrase that reflected his belief in the cause which he died for: “In these days, death is present in every action we take, in movement, and in halting, but I would rather die moving.”

Ghassan Kanafani, the famous Palestinian journalist, novelist, and short story writer, whose writings were deeply rooted in Arab Palestinian culture, inspired a whole generation during and after his lifetime, both in word and deed.

He was born in Acre in northern of Palestine in 1936 and lived in Jaffa until May 1948, when he was forced to leave with family first to Lebanon and later to Syria. He lived and worked in Damascus, then Kuwait and later in Beirut from 1960 onwards. In July 1972, he and his young niece Lamis were killed by Israeli agents in a car bomb explosion in Beirut.

Ghassan had published eighteen books and written hundreds of articles on culture, politics, and the Palestinian people’s struggle. Following his assassination, all his novels, short stories, plays and essays were also collected and published in four volumes. Ghassan’s literary works have been translated into seventeen languages and published in more than twenty different countries. Some have been adapted for radio plays and theatrical performances in several Arab and foreign countries. Two of his novels were adapted for the screen and turned into feature films.  Although Ghassan’s novels, short stories and most of his other literary work were an expression of the Palestinian people and their cause, yet his great literary talents gave his works a universal appeal.

“Children are on future”, Ghassan often said. He wrote many stories in which children are the heroes. A collection of his short stories was published in Beirut, in 1978, under the title Ghassan Kanafani’s Children. The English translation, first published in 1984 and republished in 2000, was entitled Palestine’s Children.

The Storyteller (Al-Hakawati)
Sarah Abu Sharar comes from a long line of storytellers on her father’s side. She tells stories to both adults and children often at cultural centers, festivals, museums, libraries, parks and homes.  Because Sarah grew up in several countries, she tells stories from all over the world with the focus on Palestinian and Croatian stories, where her roots lie.  Her favorite stories are ones that promote social change. Sarah has also used stories in a therapeutic way, with children in refugee camps as well as refugee children in Toronto. She teaches stories at the Parent Child Mother Goose Program. Sarah loves to listen to stories and get lost in the magic of the tales.

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Need to know:
– Doors open at 6:45
– $5 donation (suggested minimum)
– Accessible on demand via portable ramp; washrooms not accessible
– Please avoid using strong-scented products due to sensitivities

Tasty refreshments (non-alcoholic)