The Qatari Forum for Authors held a new session on the evening of Monday, May 11, 2020, of the “Read me, for I am this book” initiative, as part of the project to establish criticism that attracts critical competencies from the Arab world and outside it so that new narratives that study the story, the novel and issues of literature in general will be studied, as well as to publish the culture of criticism among writers and authors, and during that session moderated by Dr. Abdul haq Belabed, Professor of Criticism at Qatar University, Dr. Ali Nisr, who gave a lecture entitled “Qatari Life in Narration: Between Originality and Modernity” on the Forum channel on YouTube has been hosted.
In the beginning, Dr. Abdul Haq Belabed, introduced Dr. Ali Nisr, a critic specializing in narrative and poetic studies, who has a distinguished presence in scientific conferences and seminars inside and outside the Arab world, and has published many research papers in the field of fiction and poetry, such as his important critical book “The Vision to the World in the Arabic Novel” which is studied by many students and interested parties, besides being creative in the field of writing of novel and poetry.
Regarding the title that he chose in the novel and the Qatari narration, Belabed confirmed that he came through it with an important example from the models that came in the beginnings of the Qatari novel writing by the novelist Shuaa Khalifah through the novel of “old dreams of the sea,” where his research depends on important narrative stations and mechanisms while monitoring social transformations and turns in Qatar between originality and modernity.
From his part, Dr. Ali Nisr explained, through his research paper, that no era was without the phenomenon of intense conflict between originality and modernity, or tradition and renewal, or constancy and transformation, at various levels, noting that literature of all kinds was not isolated from that conflict, but rather was reflected on the lines of its pages, leaving its signs clearly: creativity and creation, even criticism and description.
He said that the first party, was often the team calling for adherence to values and what the fathers and grandfathers had drawn up in ways that violated them or constituted a disruption and disturbance, so the past became a haven that the conservatives took as a focus for regression under the pretext of preserving the identity nationally and religiously, accusing the second party as an intruder who came from overseas, to uproot an ancient, unshakable culture, adding that the second party constitutes the call to get rid of that past, under the pretext of interacting with what is imposed by civil and urban life as well, of modernity values against which we cannot close our windows and doors because they are the savior and our way out of poverty and backwardness to land on the shore of safety.
From this conflict, a third team had to emerge, working to reconcile the two narratives, the conservative and the modernist, overwhelming the legacy of what could be adopted to surpass it and overcoming the past, and about the novel (Old Dreams of the Sea) by the Qatari writer, (Shuaa Khalifa). Ali Nisr believes that it is as a theater on which scenes of that conflict were shown. From reading the title, the reader feels that way, and the horizon of waiting for what he expected is set up in front of him, where the words “dream” and “old” are two terms of conflict, stressing that this is almost what two generations have summarized, the dream occupied a wide space in their cognitive field, pointing out that the author presents the first generation whose movement covered the first 100 pages of the text. His main pillars are the father (Hamad) and his wife (Lulwa), and some characters growing on the banks of the two main characters, and these personalities contributed to fueling that conflict that was confined to poverty and wealth, where most (Lulwa) aspired to delicious food and beautiful housing, while Hamad was imitating his past and his norms, through the hunting tools he saved, which is a moral wealth, but rather life standards, and he pointed out that the second stage, or the second generation, is like the two daughters (Sheikha) and (Noura), his two main protagonists, as they were an extension of the previous characters in portraying that conflict with fundamental adjustments imposed by the current situation, where the changes and transformations that occurred as a result of the oil boom that overturned the situation and worked to improve it, imposing standards and values consistent with the nature of those changes, as (sheikha) did not deviate much from what her mother aspired to. Meanwhile, Noura represented the team that reconciled the past and its originality, through her adherence to her father’s wealth and equipment that are suitable for display in a museum of antiquities, the oil present and the openness of life economically, urbanally and socially.