Palestinian Festival Of Literature Outro: Poems, Flames, Tears And Rap

Posted on 21. april 2011


Violence erupted in Silwan last night, interrupting but not stopping the final day of the Palestine Festival of Literature.

First published by Palestine Monitor (as photo story with pictures by Lazar Simeonov)

Reportedly started by an Israeli shooting a young man’s face, the streets of tumultous Silwan rose up in rock-throwing protest. The road to and from the tent was cut off by burning tires. But as two cars carrying settlers tried to pass, a small group of young boys pelted the car with rocks.

“It sounded like someone was beating the cars with bats,” said an eye-witness.

Only few minutes later, the air was thick with teargas and the people attending the literary festival fled to the Solidarity Tent. For a little over an hour, Israeli soldiers launched teargas at festival attendees, performers and guests.

As the situation quieted down, people returned to the tent. With a significant interruption in the program for the event, speakers choose to carry on with the event and improvise.

“The problems in Silwan tonight are a summary of what Palestinians have experienced for many years,” said Ahdaf Soueif, the Palestine Literature Festival emcee.

During poetry readings, Israeli forces threw stones at the tent from the top of the hill across the street. The festival continued and was topped by DAM, partly breaking into acapella.

“People are so happy that we have come and welcomed us with gas,” DAM member Tamer Nafar said into the microphone.

After the event, Souief thanked those present for sticking around in spite of the dangerous, painful situation.

“This was brilliant,” Soueif said.

Community leader, Fakhri Abu Diab said, “I hope all our guests are happy that they got out of the bus and got through the teargas. And the real thanks are to those who made us smile through the tears.”