‘One cannot undermine the power of religion’

SOUND ADVICE: Suad Amiry at a book launch function in Bangalore on Monday.

SOUND ADVICE: Suad Amiry at a book launch function in Bangalore on Monday.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO: K. MURALI KUMAR

Staff Reporter

Palestinian writer Suad Amiry blames Bush agenda for rise of fundamentalism

The book is about women who worked for equality

‘Movements have no space for personal struggles’

Bangalore: “I believe that one must retain humanity, especially in times of conflict. I am also a strong believer of giving skills, education and exposure to women. Instead of discussing the hijab, I feel women’s movements must concentrate on giving skills and education to women,” said acclaimed Palestinian writer Suad Amiry, when asked about her advice for young women in Palestine.

Ms. Amiry was in the city on Monday to launch her book “Menopausal Palestine: Women at the Edge”, commemorating 25 years of Feminist Publishing, in collaboration with Women’s World (India).

Interspersing her narration with hilarious anecdotes, she said she became a writer by accident.

“All my three books were triggered by harsh incidents in my life. My first book, “Sharon and My Mother-in-Law”, took shape after my mother-in-law came to live with me. I wrote this one (“Menopausal Palestine”) after Hamas was elected. The third book, “Night Hunters: A Journey with Murad”, was triggered by the wall built by the Israelis,” she said.

About using menopause as a metaphor, Ms. Amiry said that the book was about 10 women, all in their 50s and going through menopause. “They had all worked for equality and women’s issues. They are all my friends and I had not thought about their religion or nationality. With the Hamas being elected, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation was also menopausal. It was a moment of reflection for the whole nation, which too was menopausal,” she said.

Women wanted to know who they were as the political movement had undermined personal struggles. “Most movements do not have any space for personal struggles. Personal stories are washed away,” she said.

Threat and identity

Ms. Amiry said that the world became hostage to George W. Bush’s agenda, which gave rise to fundamentalism.

“I believe that when one is cornered, one’s identity that is threatened comes to the surface. Hamas spoke to the people and worked at the grassroots, reassuring people, while PLO forgot to do it. One cannot undermine the power of religion. People who were unhappy with PLO voted for Hamas,” she said.

She said humour is her way of resisting occupation.

“Occupation by another nation invades every aspect of one’s life. The only way to live is to look at the absurdity of it all. It is not just a survival strategy but also a strategy of resistance,” she said.

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