KARACHI: Eminent journalist and novelist Mohammed Hanif on Tuesday pulled out of a conference to be held by the Goethe Institut in Hamburg after the organisers revoked the invitation to Palestinian writer and poet Mohammed El-Kurd.
Informing his followers about the move, Mr Hanif tweeted: “Withdrawing from @goetheinstut’s Hamburg conference where they first invited and then disinvited Palestinian journalist and poet Mohammed El-Kurd. Reason is even more offensive. Apparently Kurd is not respectful enough towards Israel.”
The conference to be held from June 23 to 26 focuses on the topic, ‘Beyond the Lone Offender — Dynamics of the Global Right’ to which both Mr Hanif, the author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes who these days resides in London, and Mr Kurd were invited.
The Goethe Institut on June 17 relayed their decision about the 24-year-old poet arguing, “After some consideration, the Goethe-Institut decided that Mohammed El-Kurd was not an appropriate speaker for this forum: in previous posts on social media, he had made several comments about Israel in a way the Goethe-Institut does not find acceptable.”
Mr Kurd has been vocal about the apartheid, an example of which is his story that came out in 2021 on his hometown Sheikh Jarrar against the expulsion of the Palestinian living in the area. It went viral. He writes in the English language.
Expanding on his reason for not being part of the moot, Mr Hanif wrote: “Mohammed El-Kurd’s house was taken over by settlers when he was eleven. Kurd and his sister Muna have been protesting since they were children. Haven’t read much Goethe, but I don’t think he wanted the world to be respectful towards a ruthless apartheid regime.” He also attached a link to the Palestinian poet’s works.
Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2022