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Lebanon, Palestine
Places of Memory
Najwa Barakat (Paris/France)
and Ghassan Zaqtan (Ramallah/Palestine)
Admission: 4 Euro, concessions 2,50 Euro
communication, homeland, identity, remembrance
Najwa Barakat
Najwa Barakat and Ghassan Zaqtan take Beirut and Ramallah as their literary points of departure. In her novel "Ya Salam", the Lebanese author Najwa Barakat traces the scars which war has left deep in the topography of the city and the psyches of its inhabitants. She shows a Beirut in which people are unable to become close with one another even now that the guns are silent.

And what is the status of memory in a region such as Palestine, in which there seems to be nothing but an increasingly fragile present? This is explored by the poetry and fiction of the author Ghassan Zaqtan, who returned to Palestine in 1994 after a long exile and now lives in Ramallah. His poems are detailed snapshots of Palestinians' everyday life, at the same time symbolizing Zaqtan's search for a lost childhood. They crystallized past and future, memory and vision, life and death.

The writer Michael Kleeberg from Berlin will ask the two authors how literature, too, can function as a place of memory, and to what extent literature can possibly succeed in coming to terms with the memories of war.

Najwa Barakat, born in 1960 in Beirut, studied theatre and film. She lives in Paris as a journalist, working for a number of Lebanese newspapers and international radio stations. She has published four novels in Arabic and one novel in French.

Ghassan Zaqtan, born in 1954 in Beit Jala near Jerusalem, landed in a Jordanian refugee camp at the age of six. Later he lived and worked in Beirut and Tunis before returning to his home a year after the Oslo Agreement of 1993.

Moderation: Michael Kleeberg, writer (Berlin)

Language: Arabic and German with translation

Contact: Sven Arnold