Here are some pictures from my session on March 9 with fellow writers Hani Soubra and Wafa Tarnowska at the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature.
As mentioned in a previous post, the session was titled "Beirut and its culture in the 21st century" and of course, we soon found ourselves talking about the unfortunate effect of politics on the country and how that's stopping us from moving forwards and building on our cultural richness.
Hani Soubra and I are quite different writers: his book is a collection of essays where he tries to explain to this daughters and their generation the facts about political developments in Lebanon and mine is light toned women's fiction where personal stories take the forefront while a war rages on in the background.
Yet, we agreed on the same thing: Lebanese need to take their own destiny into their hands and not blindly follow politicians and clerics whom we know are corrupt and have their own interests in mind with little regard for their constituents or the country. We also agreed on the dangers of radicalization in the region and how it's a threat to our advancement and culture.
Later on, I got to talk in depth to several audience members, and what hit me the most was that many foreigners who know Lebanese people in Dubai are surprised that, although we come across as united and proud of our country, we're still suffering from age old divisions... I only wish I had an answer to that....