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What is the Point of Books in the Midst of Wartime Chaos?

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  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 22, 2017, 19:00 – 21:00

For Ghias Mousli to reach Prague, he has to leave Homs by taxi, cross a war zone and hope that he doesn’t miss his flight from Beirut due to holdups at the border. He is one of the few citizens of the war-torn city who can travel to Europe freely – thanks to having Slovak citizenship.

As well as his work as a doctor, surgeon Ghias Mousli, who studied medicine at Charles University in the late 1960s, is a literary translator. Over almost three decades he has translated numerous Czech and Slovak works of literature into Arabic.

He is coming to Prague for a residency at the Czech Literary Centre.

The evening will be hosted by Jáchym Topol, whose novel Noční práce (Nightwork) is currently being translated by Mousli.

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Speech on receiving the Indira Gandhi Prize, New Delhi

„Many Europeans and Americans today are painfully aware of the fact that Euro-American civilization has undermined and destroyed the autonomy of non-European cultures. They feel it was their fault, and thus feel they have to make amends through a kind of emotional identification with others, through accommodating them, through trying to ingratiate themselves, through a longing to “help” them in one way or another. To my mind, this is a false way of going about it… It contains… the same familiar feeling of superiority… It is inverted colonialism. It is an intellectual spasm. I think we will all help one another best if we make no pretences, remain ourselves, and simply respect and honour one another, just as we are. “

Václav Havel:
Speech on receiving the Indira Gandhi Prize, New Delhi, February 8, 1994

What Price Human Rights?