The Saladin Days 2011
History, religion and reconciliation in the Middle East
March 7-9 2011, The House of Literature will host the International Saladin Days for the third year in a row. Some of the foremost writers and intellectuals from the Middle East will discuss the events around the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. Could a common perception of history create a foundation for future reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians? During the program, we will also see a discussion, between religious leaders from Islam, Judaism and Christianity, on whether – and how – faith might be a tool on the road to reconciliation.
The International Saladin Days were first held in 2009, after an idea by the Norwegian writer Thorvald Steen. They are supported by the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs. This year, for the first time, Saladin Days will be held also in Stockholm and Istanbul, inspired by the Norwegian event.
Ilan Pappe is an Israeli historian and writer. His most recent book, The Rise and Fall of a Palestinian Dynasty – the Hussaynis, 1700-1948, tells the story about Palestinian politics before the national movements and political parties, of a time when positions were won through the power of the family. The Hussayni family was central in the uprising against the Turkish and British, and lead the struggle against the creation of a Jewish state.
Avi Shilaim is one of the leading figures of the new Israeli historians, group of Israeli scholars who put forward critical interpretations of the history of Zionism and Israel. He has published a number of books on Israeli and Palestinian history, including The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (2001) and Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations (2009).
Elias Khoury is a Lebanese writer and critic, who has emerged as one of the most important intellectuals in the Middle East. Well known for his novels, such as Gate of the Sun and Yalo, Khoury recently published the novel As Though She Were Sleeping.
Åsne Seierstad is a Norwegian journalist and writer, best known for her accounts of everyday life in war zones – most notably Kabul after 2001, Baghdad in 2002 and the ruined Grozny in 2006. Her bestselling 2002 book, The Bookseller from Kabul, is an account of the time she spent living with an Afghan family in Kabul after the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
Mustafa Can is a Swedish journalist and writer, who immigrated to Sweden from Turkish Kurdistan at the age of six. His first novel, Tätt intill dagarna: berättelsen om min mor (t: Close to the days: the story of my mother), was published in 2006.
Hanne Eggen Røislien is a scholar of religious history, and associate professor at the Norwegian Cyber Force and Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington DC.
Rabbi David Rosen is a citizen of Jerusalem and the founder of the organization Rabbis for Human Rights. He has extensive experience from intra-religious dialogue.
Imam Yahya Hendi is the founder of the organization Clergy Beyond Borders. Living in the US, Hendi is the Muslim Chaplain at Georgetown University.
Gunnar Stålsett is a Norwegian theologican and politician. A former bishop of Oslo, Stålsett was not afraid of connection religion to political and interpersonal issues, and is a staunch critic of racism, anti-Semitism and religious fundamentalism.