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Letters of Kamel Shayaa in Exile, about Exile

Letters of Kamel Shayaa in Exile, about Exile

Tuesday, 17 January, 2023 - 08:00
Kamel Shayaa, exile letters

Dar Al Mada publishing is set to release the “Notebook of Exile between Hotel and Home”, a new book that includes the letters slain writer Kamel Shayaa wrote to his brother, film critic Faisal Abdullah.

Shayaa was assassinated in 2008 by unknown armed men.


The letters, which “form a journal of exile, or an early memoir,” were introduced and edited by Abdullah himself.


“These letters/texts, which I am about to publish, made me recall chapters of my life that I shared most of its facts with their inspiring writer and enlightened thinker Kamel Shayaa (1954-2008). When I recall them, I find myself today tumbling in tons of memories with my spiritual brother over 25 years that we lived in our home country and the years we lived in a strange land called exile. The second part of the book revolves around these expressive texts, which were written in exile about exile, and this is what I was keen to document. These letters have been a cognitive provision and a guide in our strange journey,” he said in the introduction.


Between the enforced abandonment and the return to our homeland, the papers of this notebook have accumulated as a journal written with the lexicon of exile, more like texts of personal memoirs, according to their writer.


When you lose all the communication channels with your loved ones in your country, friends and family, and you feel pulled by your unknown fate and what accompanies it of the new life hardships, an exiled is left with only words that they remotely exchange under challenging life circumstances. Perhaps, the letters we exchanged with our friends at the time, are in fact a compensation, more like painkillers to calm the bitters an exiled hold in his heart.


“In the form of regular letters, mostly from European cities, I received these texts featuring abundant thoughts and deep contemplations of our status in exile, the circumstance in our country and the fate of our people, alongside the news of Shaar, that sensitive young man. The hardest among them were the letters delivered from Paris after his failed attempts in Ireland and the UK.”


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