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Reading with the British-Polish author Fadia Faqir and her book

"My name is Salma" 

on 6 November 2012 at 7 p.m.

The third book by Fadia Faqir is as topical as the headlines in the daily papers, yet at the same time as timeless as love and hate. The story of a young Arab woman who lives her physical desire and pays for it with her body and soul, and finally with her life, is also a highly explosive topic in European and other Western countries. When Salma gets pregnant in her small Bedouin village in the Levant without a marriage being on the horizon, the innocent times when a young girl swam in the village pond are irrevocably over. She needs to leave her village, and her female teachers see to it that she is taken to prison, in order to be safe from her own brother who thinks that she can only purge her family from the dishonour and shame by her own death. It is in the safe prison that Salma bears her child, but never sees it - the child is taken from her immediately. After several years of imprisonment, Salma manages to get to England via underground routes, under a false name and with the help of English nuns. Here she, the daughter of a Bedouin tribe, takes up a new life as a Western person in Exeter, the most English of all English counties.

In a language in which the powerful poetry of Arabic resonates, Fadia Faqir tells a story that takes place over a period of 16 years. In her description of Salma's journey, the author insists on using Salma's point of view and her experience. Like Salma herself, we, the readers, are thrown back and forth between Salma's past where she was not allowed to be who she was, to a new environment where she needs to be different from what she is. The abysses of a migration between cultures are described from an inside view, without any taboos, yet with a tender sense of humour, unmasking the limitations of the every-day political and journalistic excitement. "My name is Salma" is a book of great beauty and immense pain, in which the cultural concepts governing the thoughts, bodies and lives of all are cautiously and yet relentlessly discussed and negotiated. Fadia Faqir says of her writing: "I write to bear witness and do justice. I also write to ward off fear, to exorcise it. Writing is a futile attempt to empower myself. The journey was and still is long, hard with no arrivals, but it is also rewarding and full of little surprises. Recollections in disquietude rather than tranquillity. A jasmine tree in a hostile garden. Torture chambers and tunnels in the Arab world. Racism and misrepresentation in the West. Sipping mint tea with my mother under a large trellis wrapped in vines. The haunting faces of the maimed, the displaced and the missing. Clouds of perfume in a blossoming orange orchard. Not exactly that, but much more than that or much less than that.”  (

The musical framework of the evening will be provided by Sinem Altagn and Özgür Ersoy on their bağlama and duduk, of the trio 'Olivinn'.

Welcoming speech at the start of the reading tour by Dr. Stefan Buchwald, Ministry of the Exterior, Berlin

Organisers: the Ibn Rushd Fund and Anna-Lindh-Stiftung Foundation in cooperation with the Mitte Museumas part of the programme "The Mediterranean on site" with a focus on the topics of migration and flight

The British-Jordanian author Fadia Faqir is going on a reading tour through several German cities, presenting her book "My name is Salma", published in 2007. The novel tells the story of a young Bedouin woman from the Eastern part of the Mediterranean, who, due to an extramarital pregnancy, is outcast by her family and the community and flees to England where her search for a new identity starts.

The Common Action by the name of "Mediterranean on Site - Migration and Flight" was approved by the Secretariat in Alexandria and takes place from 18 October to 01 December 2012 throughout the Federal Republic of Germany.

A joint flyer and an accompanying blog form the umbrella of the approximately 8 to 10 different events. In order to link the events spread spatially and temporally together, we will send a sort of "Olympic Flame" in the shape of a suitcase from one event to the next. This suitcase will hold a small camcorder, allowing captured impressions to be published on the blog for each event so that those who are unable to attend all of the performances can have an overview of the complete series.

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