The Qatar Forum for Authors on Monday evening hosted Dr. Mohammed Abed from India. This came as part of a session titled “Read me, I am that book.” In the session the subject of “Human Values in Qatari Short Story” was discussed. The session was remotely moderated by Dr. Abdulhaq Belabed, Professor of literature Issues and Methods of Critical and Comparative studies at Qatar University.
Dr. Mohammed Abed is an Assistant Professor and Research Supervisor in the Arabic Language and Literature Master’s and Research Dept. at the Farouk College, Calicut University in Kerala, India and is specialized in Arabic literature and narrative studies. He spoke about human values and elements of the Qatari short story by highlighting its features through stories written by Jamal Fayez and Samira Obeid.
He explained that short story in the State of Qatar is characterized by a variety of methods, trends and topics. It represents on the social level the customs and traditions of Qatari life. Qatari short stories address the human elements as illustrated by the struggle of man with his self and the individual with his society in order to consolidate these human values. Dr. Abed further pointed out that these values are based on a religious, historical and social heritage. He also stressed at the same time that he chose as models of writers of this genre, the writers (Jamal and Samira).
Abed based his discussion on a number of Jamal Fayez’s stories, including “The Night of Garangoa,” “The Sea does not Leave its Place,” “The Wooden Door,” “Spirits of Houses,” “The Storm.” And other short stories.
An Example of Samira Obeid’s chosen stories were “To My father’s Soul,” “A Painting of My Mother,” “The Blind Musician,” “Yasmine,” “Tattoo Fleeing from Clay” “A Prison Without Walls,” “An Old Dream,” “Mirror Talk” and other stories.
He also touched on several issues connected to the development of short story in the state of Qatar. He pointed out that it is a new born genre preceded by the Novel. Dr. Abeid indicated that the short story is the dominant art in our contemporary life. Literary talents have sprung up in Qatar and the story has become the master of the arts of writing.
According to the Indian researcher, Qatar has produced some bright names in the sky of the story. These include Yusuf Al-Nema, Ibrahim Al-Marsi, Kaltham Jabr, Ahmed Abdul-Malik, Noura Al Saad, Hassan Rashid, Zahra Al-Maliki, Wadad Al-Kuwari, Bushra Nasser, Dalal Khalifa, Huda Al-Nuaimi, Shou’aa Al-Yousef, Rashid Al-Shayeb, Noura Mohammed Faraj, and many others.
Abed explained as for the reason why he chose writers Jamal and Samira that they are one of the writers who are most focused on humanistic elements in their stories. Fayez seeks in his stories to revive human, cultural and social values. He feels that there is a need for society to return to its original values. Thus, the coming generation can return to the right path. Samira Obeid also revolves in that same orbit as Jamal.
Probing the depths of human values in the stories of the two writers, Abed proceeded from their biographies and works of art. Their works are swarming with values and virtues that call to consideration human elements through situations and behaviour, such as respect, compassion, affection and appreciation. Through these an individual acquires the traits of tolerance, peace, kindness, love, humility and self-control. Human values also call for the rejection of violence, evil, hatred, injustice and hatred, and urges people to participate in voluntary actions and to be committed to good manners with all humans without any discrimination on the basis of origin, religion, colour or gender. He further said that these elements are present in the stories of Jamal Fayez and Samira Abid.
The guest of the Forum pointed out that Jamal Fayez represents these values. In his stories, he displays interest in Qatari heritage. the most important characteristic is his handling of events, which are realities in every society. A reader senses the love of young people and the reverence of adults. His stories address values in all its dimensions and his works are studies and examined by a number of non-Arab researchers.
Dr. Abed, while dealing with the stories of Samira Obeid, explained that there is a convergence between her and Jamal Fayez in relation to human values. He pointed out that her story “Tattoo Fleeing from Clay”, is a story that represents an instinctive necessary need by human beings to renew their identity. He considered this as one of the best stories in this section.
This collection deals with a number of virtues of morality: love of the homeland, dutifulness to parents, virtues of good and respect for adults, and appreciation of motherhood.
Dr. Abdul-Haq Belabed stressed that the aim of these discussions is to change our habits about critical reading and to always have in mind that one reads two readings in one: the first is that of understanding and the other is that of acquiring information.
Furthermore, on Tuesday evening, in a session broadcast live through Zoom during the “A Writer and a Book,” writer Ali Abu Al-Nasr Al-Rasheed reviewed his book “Pioneering Women’s Experiences in Volunteering and Humanitarian Work,” published recently by Qatar Charity.
The session was moderated by Mr. Saleh Ghraib, Director of Programs at the Forum. Al-Rasheed pointed out that charitable and voluntary work is a civilized act contributed by individuals and civil society organizations that support the state’s efforts to develop society. He further stressed that volunteer work is a value that is rooted in conscience, then becomes a culture and then a practice that pays off on the ground.
He further pointed out that this documenting book falls within the framework of spreading the culture of human work and instilling the values of volunteering and conveying rich and successful experiences to present role models to future generations. Al-Rasheed explained that there is a lack of references in this area and that books that mention the experiences of human work are scarce. He, therefore, attempts to add to the library a book that mixes documentation, feelings, sentiments narration of events, situations and description of characters through simple and easy vocabulary and phrases.
He further said that Women characters whose experiences have been reviewed in the book: Ms. Sheikha Al-Muftah, Badreya Yaqoot and Istiqlal Al-Baqer have a long history in voluntary work. Their experience in that field started from the seventies of last century and still continues till today. Moreover, their experiences were not mere coincidence but rather organized work with the civil society institutes. These women enjoy a vast and diverse experience in Qatar in relation to awareness work and efforts to mobilize support for humanitarian work through auctions and charitable exhibitions as well as entrepreneurs and targeted initiatives that have made a difference and caused development in this field. They are women who succeeded in overcoming the challenges and made many sacrifices in order to serve their country.
He further expounded that these ladies are distinguished from other humanitarian activists. They have long experience in this field and a network of diverse relationships including actors in the field of charity. He also pointed out to that the book contributes to enriching the cultural and cognitive aspect in the field of humanitarian work in the Arab world. This field is still considered in this part of the world as new and untrod.
The “A Writer and A Book” session was hosted by writer Ms. Badria Al-Rubaie and Ms. Sheikha Rashid Al-Muftah to talk about their rich experiences that are related in the book.
Ms. Al-Muftah said that the first seeds are the basis of all work. If the seed is good, it produces good fruits of good morals and love for good. She further stressed that her mother instilled in her the love of goodness and the spirit of volunteering since childhood. She was raised in a cohesive society and a generous family dedicated to giving and helping others. She further addressed her beginnings in volunteering at school and then university. She also related some visits that she has made to some countries to help students.
Ms. Badria Al-Rubaie explained that the family is the first school that teaches good morals. She pointed out that she inherited the love of goodness from her family. After her marriage, she travelled to Tokyo with her husband and had there the opportunity to participate in a charity exhibition for the benefit of Sabra and Shatila. She then felt that she belonged in this field. Thus, she decided to enter the field of volunteer work and have ever since been in it and stressed that she will continue to work in this field. She then spoke about her experience in helping orphans in Indonesia and in Rihania in Syria by delivering the aid convoy. She also described the feelings of joy mixed with pain felt by Qatar’s charitable supervisory team when they meet the affected, the afflicted and the poor around the world.
On Wednesday, the forum also announced the launch of a campaign “Let your Pen Release your Thoughts”. An introductory session was presented by the program moderator Mr. Saleh Ghraib in which he explained the objectives of the campaign. He further related the campaign to the framework of the strategic plan of the forum and its vision. On this occasion a draw was conducted to announce the names of winners of the Ramadhan Riddles Competition which aimed at introducing personalities that contributed to the development of society through writing and whose names were immortalized through their writings and ideas. Winners of the QR3000 prize each in this competition were Adel Mohammed Ali, Mohamed Hassan Ali and Israa Ali Mohammed.
The forum has posted through its social media platforms articles that highlight the importance of presentation of thought through writing in various fields. These articles encourage writing and creativity. In addition, some quotations about the virtue of reading and writing were also posted.
In conjunction with the launch of the campaign, media figure Buthaina Abdul_Jaleel presented a new initiative entitled “Opinions of Authors.” This is a campaign that monitors the most important opinion articles which address real-time issues and important and different points of view published by members of the forum in various daily newspapers. This comes within the framework of promoting freedom of expression and accepting opposing opinions and different thought. She addressed in the first session of this initiative the theme “Gradual return to Normal Life.”