‘Palestine + 100’: To forget is a sin in these futuristic tales

From virtual reality to extraterrestrial visitors, twelve authors explore what a free Palestine would look like. (Supplied)
Updated 04 November 2019

‘Palestine + 100’: To forget is a sin in these futuristic tales

CHICAGO: The year is 2048 in “Palestine + 100: Stories From a Century After the Nakba” edited by Basma Ghalayini. Twelve authors present their version of Palestine, where bananas grow on the slopes of Ramallah, pineapples flourish in Samaria and where virtual reality seamlessly overlays a desolate life.

Palestinian refugees are “like nomads traveling across a landscape of memory,” writes Ghalayini in her introduction. In 1948, the Nakba saw scores of Palestinian villages and cities destroyed and more than 700,000 Palestinians expelled from their land. As of 2003, it was estimated that 9.6 million descendants lived outside of Palestine and so when Ghalayini writes that for Palestinians “writing is, in part, a search of their lost inheritance, as well as an attempt to keep the memory of that loss from fading,” it is a powerful expression of how storytelling is a tool for preservation.

From virtual reality to extraterrestrial visitors, the twelve authors explore what a free Palestine would look like, or at least the illusion of freedom at the height of digital innovation. Salem Haddad, Majd Kayal, Emad El-Din Aysha, and Abdalmuti Maqbool create parallel words, pushing technological and societal boundaries, where history can be altered, government can be formed virtually and the past can be lived and relived through alternate narratives, but not without a cost.

From Mazen Maarouf comes a superhero and Selma Dabbagh tells of a desperate woman who must sell her kidney for a job. Between Anwar Hamed’s ghosts and Tasnim Abutabikh’s story of a mistaken enemy, each author turns the idea of freedom on its head, questioning the idea of freedom itself. From Rawan Yaghi comes a story of desolate landscapes in which oxygen is in short supply and sedatives are in high demand, and from Samir El-Youssef a story where the study of history is forbidden. Narratives are pushed as Ahmed Masoud explores the possibility of hosting international competitions and Talal Abu Shawish forces communities together when presented with an outside threat.

The story-tellers themselves have a range of perspectives that span over 40 years, from the oldest author in his sixties to the youngest in her twenties. Some have lived in Palestine while others have lived in Palestine through their parents’ or grandparents’ memories. As Samir El-Youssef writes in his short story, “in a country like this, to forget is a sin.”

Saudi radio star Big Hass teams up with Dubai Media City to shine a light on regional talent

Updated 26 September 2020

Saudi radio star Big Hass teams up with Dubai Media City to shine a light on regional talent

DUBAI: Regional music personality and radio host Hass “Big Hass” Dennaoui has teamed up with Dubai Media City (DMC) to launch a new live show dedicated to shining a light on the Gulf’s promising music talents.

Titled “DMC Amplify,” the first episode of the digital show will premiere on Oct. 2. Big Hass will be joined in the first session by up-and-coming Saudi rapper Molham, who will set the stage for a string of local artists, musicians and poets who will sit down with the radio host for hard-hitting talks and performances that will be streamed live via Facebook and YouTube.


"أكثر شيء أحبه لما تنادي اسمي"

A post shared by Molham | مُلهَم (@molham) on

“We all have a duty to support and amplify the noise around local artists and that’s why our collaboration is so important,” said Big Hass in a statement. “This exciting new series will bring together amazing people with real stories to share about their struggles and successes. I can’t wait to get started.” 

Echoing his statement, Majed Al-Suwaidi, managing director of Dubai Media City, added: “Shining a light on promising new artists breaking through the region’s multibillion-dollar creative industry is something that everyone in our community cares strongly about. For close to two decades, we’ve endeavoured to showcase emerging talent and provide a platform for them to reach a bigger audience through an action-packed roster of annual events. DMC Amplify is a natural extension of this and we’re delighted to see it take flight.”