The Great Debate UK
-Robin Yassin-Kassab is the author of The Road from Damascus, a novel published by Penguin, and co-editor of PULSE, one of Le Monde Diplomatique’s five favourite websites. The opinions expressed are his own.-
There’s no pretty way to describe what I saw in Hebron, no tidy conceit to wrap it in.
I visited as a participant in the Palestine Festival of Literature, the brain child of the great British-Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif. I was in the company of many wonderful writers and publishers, among them Python and traveller Michael Palin, best-selling crime novelist Henning Mankel, Pride and Prejudice screenplay writer Deborah Moggach, and prize-winning novelists Claire Messud and MG Vassanji.
Our first stop was Hebron University, where I ran a workshop on “the role of writing in changing political realities.” The students were bright and eager; the only discomforting note was struck by a memorial stone to three killed while walking on campus, by rampaging settlers, in 1986.