Focus on Palestine: Kalam Aflam's fourth edition unveils the power of Love as a Revolutionary Act

Ahram Online , Sunday 4 Feb 2024

In a compelling exploration of love as a revolutionary force, Kalam Aflam, in collaboration with Shofto and La Palestine Nous Rassemble, recently hosted its fourth edition event on 30 January at Le Hasard Ludique in Paris.

Kalam Aflam


The evening unfolded as a poignant journey within and around the concept of love, positioning it as an indomitable force of resistance. 

“I’ve asked myself many many questions – and not seemed to find many answers but one: that love is an energy, a force, which once created, never disappears. It only transforms. In also thinking, especially in recent months with Palestine in mind and heart, about revolution, about resistance, about change, I was reminded how love’s indestructibility makes it the essence of revolution in and of itself: as it cannot be colonized, stolen, appropriated, tamed, or erased. Love -- in all its forms -- is something that belongs to each and every one of us, and that links us together, and most importantly, that cannot be taken away from us,” said founder Hayat Aljowaily during her opening speech. 

The participants were invited to reflect on love's transformative power through the screening of thought-provoking Palestinian short films -- Condom Lead by Arab and Tarzan Nasser, Bonbone by Rakan Mayasi, By the Sea by Wisam Al Jafari, The Crossing by Ameen Nayfeh, and Siri Miri by Luay Awwad -- an interactive writing workshop, facilitated conversations, and a reading session featuring Palestinian activists and artists Dalia Somi, Laila Hzaineh, Abood Al Bakri, and poet Mariam Ben Slama.

“It’s very important for us to have events that feel like they are for us, where we invite people to join us. As Palestinians, we are always discussing what’s happening, but it’s not the only thing that we talk about. We also talk about love, music, food, and art. So I think it’s really important for us to have spaces where we can share that with others,” Laila Hzaineh explained.

“Being Palestinian is not just about resisting an occupation, about continuously fighting back, about consistently being bombarded. Being Palestinian, in its purest form, is about existing like everyone else – with full rights, resources, expression, knowledge, and emotions. This is why every Palestinian fights,” echoed Abdelwahab Al Bakri, co-founder of Kalam Aflam, an association that aims to create a space for Arab and North African arts and culture in Paris and beyond while supporting young and emerging artists.

The event also showcased a captivating photography exhibition featuring works by talented emerging Arab and North African artists, including Mohamed Enani, Ambre Kellache, Layal Sadek, Sonia Aoula, Mia Bendrimia, Kenza Belkadi, Hicham Touili-Idrissi, Sarra Boussaidi, and Naila Salmi.

Notably, Kalam Aflam partnered with Shofto (an initiative that revolves around the screening of films and engaging in discussions centred on West Asia, North Africa, and their diasporas) and La Palestine Nous Rassemble to organize this event, which aligns with their shared commitment to cultural exploration, artistic expression, and social causes.

Profits from the event were donated to La Palestine Nous Rassemble, a collective of Palestinians in exile organizing cultural events to strengthen community bonds and solidarity and raise awareness through the practice of arts.

“Palestinian culture is a culture that moves, that transforms, that lives – I am, along with some of the people in this room, the living proof of that. It’s a culture that we hold dearly, and that we love, and that keeps us resilient in these past weeks that have been incredibly difficult for all of us,” shared La Palestine Nous Rassemble member Dalia Somi. 

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