The Pathways: Reframing Narration
Contributors: Aysar Alsaify, Murad Odah
“One morning, I went to the kitchen to make some coffee and, while I was letting the coffee boil, I looked up out the window to find that my neighbor had turned his kitchen into a bathroom. Having forgotten to close the window, there he sat, on the toilet, looking at me eye-to-eye. So I said, “How are you, neighbour?!” Still sitting on the toilet, he replied, “Praise be to God”. I said, “What are you doing here?” “What do I know?” he answered, “looks like I forgot to close the window.” We were silent for a moment, then suddenly we started laughing, trying to figure a way out of this awkward situation.”06 | The Pathways (PDF)
The initiatives included in these booklets are the result of a collective effort made by the Campus in Camps participants in dialogue with community members, associations and collaborators. They have been inspired through dialogue with Sandi Hilal, Munir Fasheh, Alessandro Petti and activated with Tamara Abu Laban, BraveNewAlps, Ayman Khalifah, Matteo Guidi, Sara Pellegrini, Giuliana Racco, Diego Segatto, Dena Qaddumi.
→November 6, 2012- Book Presentation Last Lesson
Aysar, one of the participants of Campus in Camps, he publicly presented and discuss his first novel “The Last Lesson”. He wishes to instigate the younger generation of Palestinian refugees to write about their own lives and what affects them.
“The Last Lesson” revolves around issues of refugeehood, imprisonment, poverty, love and philosophy. Through a mix of memory and fiction, the characters in the book search for their own voices and identities while attempting to redefine their lives.
→May,14, 2013- Nakba Day
On the 65th memorial of the Nakba, Campus in Camps participants Aysar, Murad, Naba’a and Qussay organized a graffiti event with the participation of youth groups from Dheisheh refugee camp. What is special about these paintings is that they address reality and enliven the walls of the camp with past events and expectations for the future. The initiative was encouragement by the camp community who felt that the graffiti transformed the walls not just into art medium but also into a social medium.
→July 24, 2013- Volunteer for Yourself
This activity turned into a two-week campaign, beginning with 10 young participants from Dheisheh refugee camp who were interested in volunteering in the camp and, especially, with Campus in Camps. First, Aysar, Qussay and Naba’a presented Campus in Camps and the pathways initiative, then this group decided to start by cleaning all the camp walls and restoring the old graffiti. After this, they painted 6 new images. This group provides a strong example of true voluntary work: they did everything by themselves, brought their own materials and cleaned the streets. Moreover, during the month of Ramadan they offered water and juice to passersby at Iftar (evening break fast).
→August 6, 2013- Naji Al-Ali Anniversary
Painting on walls as a way of speaking up collectively and documenting camp life was greatly inspired by the work of political cartoonist Naji Al-Ali. On the occasion of the 26th anniversary of his death, the Pathways Initiative group, together with the youth of Dheisheh, paid homage to Al-Ali by drawing their stories on the walls throughout the camp.
→ Literature Forum
Writing is a means to maintain Palestinian culture and to defend the Palestinian cause through the chronicling and recollection of events and stories resulting from the ongoing Nakba.
The idea of the literature forum arose from discussions with different generations in the camps and consists of a series of activities outside the framework of the political parties and the NGO community in order to create a new reality associated with the visions of generations concerning the present and the future.
The Pathways Initiative, in cooperation with Al Bab Literature Group, have held several meetings in which writers, critics and poets have been invited to discuss art and literature.
July, 11,2013 – The “THIRD HOME” Book Discussion
As part of the cultural events animating the al-Feniq Garden with the literature forum, Aysar, Murad, Naba’a and Qussay held a book discussion on July 11, 2013. The novel is centered on camp life starting form the Nakba of 1948 until now. Saleh Abu Laban, author of the book and resident of Dheisheh refugee camp, documented and reflected on the evolution of social life in the camp and its urban landscape, as well as how these changes are deeply intertwined with the political conditions.
August 28, 2013- “Jasmine Messages” Evening
This event consisted of a comparative book review of Issa al Kwasma’s “Displacement to the Moon” and Eiad Shmasna’s “The Secret History of the Commander of Dust ”. The evening opened with readings and a literary analysis, followed by a group discussion.
Watch this video
September 5, 2013- Reading Nafiz Al Rifaie Novels
The meeting began with an introduction by the writer Nafiz Al Rifaie, who spoke about his literary experience: his beginnings, what he used to read and how reading influences his ability to write. He also spoke about the differences between his novels, the various ideas, themes and tensions in the structure in each text. Readings from his novels, including “A Woman Who Comes From Death”, were followed by questions from the public.
October 31, 2013- Public Meeting with Aziz Alassa and Samar Ghattas
Aziz Al Assa is a writer and critic who began his career as a journalist. At Campus in Camps, he spoke about different forms of writing, about the art of criticism and the different schools of Arabic literary critique. Al Assa gave examples from novels he has written about, such as by Muna Thaher’s “Shafeiq Zaghloul Diaries” and Nasab Husain “Dodge Walls”.
Visual artist Samar Ghattas spoke about elements in her paintings and how people view these through their personal experiences and feelings. She also discussed the collective and individual experience and presented the use of line and color in some samples of her work.