MU Libraries, in collaboration with "Dar – The Creative Hub", organized a seminar discussing the book "Balconies over the Flood." This anthology of short stories delves into observations and reflections inspired by the events of "Al-Aqsa Flood." All sales of the book go towards supporting occupied Palestine.
The seminar took place on Wednesday, December 20, 2023, at MU Library (Block A) in Beirut. The event featured participation from several writers, including Dana Kanso Ghouri, Marwa Al-Haj Hassan, Nisreen El-Khansa, Zahraa Sweidan, Sally Baalbaki, and Hussein Midani.
After the introduction by MU Librarian Mrs. Heba Yassin regarding the seminar, Ms. Kanso began discussing the relationship between the liberation of the land, its culture, and history. She pointed out that this collection of short stories came to convey the message, "We are the owners of the story, and whoever possesses the story possesses the history, and whoever possesses the history possesses everything."
Kanso also touched upon the initiative to launch the book, emphasizing that "everyone involved in its preparation, including the editor, proofreader, and cover designer, participated without any financial compensation, so that the book could originate from Gaza and its proceeds return to Gaza." Kanso concluded her remarks with a reading and discussion of excerpts from her story, "Let Me Reassure You, Batoul."
Afterward, there was a speech by Ms. Sweidan, in which she discussed the craft of the book and the diverse cultural and scientific backgrounds of its contributors. She emphasized that this book "is a gift to Gaza before its proceeds return, making it a moral gift before a material one." She then discussed her short story, "Aren’t We Right," talking about the impact of events in Palestine on her home and urging the audience to explore their hobbies and actively engage them in service of the cause.
In turn, Mrs. Al-Haj Hassan spoke about her stance on the Palestinian issue, stressing that her participation in the book is a declaration that "she does not stand idly by, and if you choose to be a spectator, be a passive observer, not a bold one." In conclusion, the writer read excerpts from her short story titled "I Will Be among You," highlighting its significance and objectives.
El Khansa discussed her experience teaching English and how she employed this experience in her story titled "Beyond the Curriculum." She highlighted the importance of language in resistance work and underscored the significance of addressing this point in educational curricula, stating, "The word 'martyr' is different from 'killed,' and the actor (subject) must always be known."
In the fifth paragraph, Baalbaki spoke about "attempts by the temporary entity to appropriate Arab culture, even reaching the point of labeling Arab foods as ‘Israeli’ in origin." In conclusion, she read an excerpt from her story titled "Al Hannoun Tree Covers Gaza," delving into the details of writing the story and its background.
Towards the end of the session, there was a speech by student Hussein Midani, where he talked about the experience of the creative workshop and its importance in refining and nurturing human culture.