It’s apparently official: Israeli Arab authors Ala Hlehel and Adania Shibli will not be allowed to travel to (enemy) Beirut to receive their Beirut39 awards and participate in events with 37 other writers from around the Arab world. So sayeth the Israeli ruling regime.
The Associated Press reports:
Instead of traveling to Beirut, writers Ala Hlehel and Adania Shibli will be going to London to receive their prizes there.
The Israel paper Ha’aretz had been following the legal wrangling around getting Hlehel permission to go; I’d heard nothing about getting permission for Shibli, whose lovely and highly sensory Touch is out in English from Clockroot Books this month.
So, if you’re in London on April 15, go see Hlehel and Shibli receive their awards. Before that, of course, you can read a few of Hlehel’s stories, and order a copy of Shibli’s Touch.
Also, one hopes they have their bank statements on hand: two Iraqi artists were apparently denied entry to Britain (to attend their own exhibitions) because they couldn’t prove sufficient wealth.
Though it is a trend to blame evil Israel of all the calamity of the world, please do know that Israel has no problem if any of its citizens travel to Beirut.
It is totally the contrary, it is our allegedly free-thinking and revolutionary country that denies entry not only to persons, even if Arabs, who hold an Israeli passport but also to foreigners who happen to have an Israeli visa stamp on their passports.
While I don’t know about the alleged free-thinkers of Lebanon (I barely understand our free-thinking policies here in Cairo), Ha’aretz—a paper which does not blame Israel for the calamities of the world—reports that Israeli citizens cannot travel to “enemy” countries without permission.
This includes Lebanon.
You can read about it here: http://arablit.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/let-hlehel-go/, or if you prefer Israeli sources, here: http://www.adalah.org/eng/pressreleases/pr.php?file=24_03_10 and here: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1159289.html
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