Review of Anti-Terror and Peace: IFLAC AnthologyPosted: 2016/07/13
By Pejman Masrouri
Bringing together voices from around the globe, Ada Aharoni’s newest publication, “Anti-Terror and Peace: IFLAC Anthology,” is a crucial and timely contribution in today’s troubled times.
Contributors hail from twenty-three different countries and offer a rich composite of multicultural experiences with one goal in mind—to eradicate violence and terrorism and replace it with hope and peace. A variety of expression is shared, including thoughtful and well-researched articles, art, poetry, short stories, and essays. I feel that each piece has been carefully chosen to stimulate interest, thought, discussion, and, most importantly, action.
As contributor Njero Kathangu Mtumishi, of Kenya, points out, “The war on terrorism can only succeed where justice is looked at from a human angle and not just in legal exchange.” He eloquently summarizes that “Carrying arms disables the tongue.” Fellow contributor, Free Pen, of France, shares a similar message, in that, “The war on terrorism solely by planes from the sky, is shortsighted, because it attacks the effect rather than the cause.” He is right, because the terrorist ideology consists of words, and thus only words can bring out its elimination.
The battle against terrorism requires voices of peace and reconciliation but also deep thinkers and leaders, all of which we find in this innovative and excellent book. Lidia Chiarelli, of Italy, poetically communicates this in her included poem, “Paths to Peace” which ends with this hopeful message, speaking about writers and poets of peace who condemn terrorism, she says:
they will be
a new song
in the deep blue sky
that will not switch off
in the dark of the night
Overall, this anthology serves to challenge leaders, thinkers, writers and media around the world, to show that the pen is mightier than the sword. Which is the logo of IFLAC:
As contributor Muthoni Likimani from Kenya puts it, “My pen my bullet.” Raising our collective voices in whatever means possible is key to achieving peace in our lifetime.
Ada Aharoni, who is Founder and World President of IFLAC: The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace, states in her contributed interview with Patrick Sammut of Malta, that she would like to see “more poets become ‘conscious caretakers’ of our beautiful world.” She also mentions the importance of leaders, thinkers, and media to condemn world terror. In her own contribution to the anthology, she goes further, espousing the concept of not only diplomatic efforts to overcome terrorism but even of “Diplomatic Poetry,” which is meant to bring warring sides together and pave the way to peaceful reconciliation and a world beyond terror, war and violence.
Review of From the Nile to the Jordan
In “From the Nile to the Jordan,” author Ada Aharoni weaves a highly symbolic love story into the historical backdrop of the Second Exodus of Jews out of Egypt following the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. Possibly unknown to most readers, Jews living in Egypt at the time were forced to leave even though their existence there dated back to biblical times. This rich historic setting is beautifully brought to life through Aharoni’s poetic prose and descriptions.
The story centers on two main characters—young Inbar, daughter of an accomplished Jewish judge, and Raoul, a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, who meet and fall in love in Cairo prior to the founding of Israel. They symbolize two major groups of the Jewish people, the Oriental Sephardi Jews from the Middle East, and the Ashkenazi Jews of Europe, which are to be finally united in the homeland of Israel. They also symbolize two aspects of human nature– -Inbar with her hopeful search for her own identity and future, and Raoul, whose pessimism is understandable after witnessing the worst that humans have to offer.
Despite the characters’ struggles and hardships, Aharoni leaves the reader with an important hopeful message: that the current situation in the Middle East can be improved with the sharing of historical truths– -that the Second Exodus resulted in almost a million Jews being forced from their homelands while 650,000 Palestinians fled Israel in the opposite direction. The fact of this parallel experience should hopefully cause both these parties to find more common ground for peaceful coexistence. Aharoni is truly qualified to share this story of exile as she herself was born in Cairo and experienced firsthand the Second Exodus. An accomplished writer and university professor, she is also the founder and World President of IFLAC: The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace. She has devoted her life to building bridges of peace, especially between Arab and Jew.