Resum de la ponència
Last Friday during my stay at the Fabellull in Olot I met Kaissa and Salem, a couple whose strength and convictions I admire greatly. Defending culture, language and secularism in the pages of the newspaper Izuran ("Arrels") brought them up against government censorship and the violence of Islamist groups. They arrived in Catalonia in 2007 thanks to the Catalan PEN's Host Writer programme and in 2014 they settled in Olot with their children. Today they continue to work with Catalan PEN and with activism in favour of democracy, the freedom of the Amazigh people and women's rights.
The meeting served to catch up, talk about the family and their life in Olot, a city where they have been very well received and where they have made great friends. We also took the opportunity to talk about a new literary project aimed at refugee writers. I was particularly interested to hear about their personal experience as refugees but also, in the case of Salem, as someone who is currently working with refugees. The first question that came up was what do we consider a refugee? Someone who has been granted this administrative status by the state? Many people feel they are refugees or exiles but are not recognised as such by any state.
Salem and Kaissa will also participate in the residency that we will do at the Faber-Llull in Olot in October as part of the European programme “Be Part. Grow with Arts” led by Catalan PEN. I believe that their experience and struggle can be a great inspiration for younger European writers.