”Ten writers won’t make Sweden overpopulated, it’s half empty anyway” he said. “But Sweden and Norway are great at supporting writers, so don’t misunderstand me. I’m just pointing out a few cases.”
I was in the audience at the Malmö Exile Forum 2012, speaking was Ghias Aljundi from Syria. He is working for Pen International for freedom of expression with the focus on the Middle East and North Africa. Today was about the writers who live in exile, what it is like to be a writer living in exile and how to tackle the issue with writers having to escape their home countries and start a new life in a new country with new way of life. How can a journalist from Syria or Bahrain keep her audience and her name in a whole new society? As one of the writers said: “I didn’t lose my audience. I regained them by facebook.”
As we sat in the room the terms “west” and “the rest of the world” kept on appearing. I got sick of the division we always make of the world, why can’t we all just be one? It’s always this “us” and “them”. I feel not as many answers were given today as questions were asked. But the discussion is up and will keep on going.
And I grabbed the opportunity and will go to Jordan to meet Syrian writers hiding in their neighboring country. When? I don’t know, as soon as I can. With a new course in photography starting this week my time is limited though.