UPM DOCTORAL STUDENT LAUNCHES SHORT STORIES COLLECTION ON PALESTINE
Kuala Lumpur, 3 May 2014: A UPM student launched his collection of short stories on Palestine at the recent Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair at PWTC. The collection, entitled Gaza Writes Back, is edited and introduced by Refaat Alareer, a PhD student specialising in English literature at the Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, UPM.
“Gaza Writes Back is a book of short stories written in English by young writers from Palestine who believe in the power of words and writing to resist and expose occupation, oppression, and racism,” Refaat explained. Refaat, who is from Palestine himself, added that the stories were originally written by his students in Palestine as a class activity.
To Refaat, the book is very personal, and bears a very important literary testimony to the resilience of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation. “The book showcases the young Palestinian voices who seek through stories to end Israeli occupation and to ask for justice and equal rights for all Palestinians regardless of race or religion,” he asserted.
The book was originally published by Just World Books in the United States and marketed internationally. The response to the book has been overwhelming, culminating in a 4-week book tour of ten states in the United States. The Malaysian edition is published by Saba Islamic Media, Malaysia, which also had it translated into Malay as Gaza Menulis Balas.
According to Refaat, “the Malay translation, Gaza Menulis Balas, shows how connected Malaysia is with Palestine and how hard Malaysians work to achieve justice for Palestine”. The Malaysian launch of the book was attended by many including Refaat’s supervisor, Associate Professor Dr Noritah Omar, who also wrote the foreword to the book.The Malaysian edition of Gaza Writes Back and its Malay translation Gaza Menulis Balas are available for purchase in Malaysia. It is the wish of Refaat, and the wish of the young Gazan writers, that the call for justice remains forceful and persistent through the book, and that the world will not forget about them—their land, their people, and their story.