Palestinian literature festival shows the pen can intimidate the sword


The annual Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest), which takes place this week in five different cities: Ramallah, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nablus and Haifa. In its seventh edition, PalFest, despite being run on a shoestring, has attracted prominent Palestinian, Arab, European, American, Asian and African names.

PalFest has managed to skirt around the movement restrictions imposed by the Israeli military to field a diverse programme including readings, theatrical performances, music, discussions and workshops.

The festival’s slogan is “the power of culture over the culture of power”. This echoes the adage that “the pen is mightier than the sword”, which has been recycled in various forms since at least the Assyrian sage Ahiqar in the 7th century BC.

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