At a time when the world deals with climate change and the refugee crisis, the best way to light up the future is by showing resourcefulness, hospitality and generosity to the needy, Nobel laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah has said.
He was speaking on the topic ‘Shadows of history; lights of future’ at the MBIFL on Friday.
Hailing MBIFL, he said, “Events like this are valuable because we are here to disseminate and celebrate reflections and ideas people put together before us.”
He said that ‘Shadows of history’ suggested that history was a dark narrative, full of catastrophic events.
“History is a nightmare, something that oppresses us, something we need to shake off. History is a steady series of small moments and achievements that carry on all the time,” he added. He said that a semicolon had been placed between ‘Shadows of history’ and ‘Lights of the future’ for a balancing act, just to put behind the dark narrative of the past. “While looking into the future, we should keep in mind the dark prophecies and have to learn how to live in crisis. For some people, the future is futile. But one should believe that there is a way for a bright future,” he added.
Citing the refugee crisis in Europe, he said, “Refugee crisis can be considered as the aftereffect of colonisation by world powers. The arrival of refugees in Europe will impact the length and breadth of Europe.”
Asked whether the Nobel prize had changed him as a writer, he said that many of his books were getting translated into different languages.
Talking about the anti-apartheid movement in Africa, he said, “(I) didn’t participate in the movement but grew up with awareness on racism and civil rights movements.” He also expressed his admiration for Mahatma Gandhi and antiapartheid activist Nelson Mandela.
Replying to a question on the need for a global leader, Gurnah pointed out that the idea of global leadership came out of mythicization.
On nationality, he said, “Millions of people have taken citizenship of their choice. If there are possibilities, one can change nationality.”