Palestinian doctor to join festival of ideas at Traquair

May 14, 2010 - Izzeldin Abuelaish in his Toronto home.
May 14, 2010 - Izzeldin Abuelaish in his Toronto home.

A PALESTINIAN doctor whose three daughters were killed by an Israeli tank shell in Gaza in 2009 is the latest addition to a stellar line-up of writers, broadcasters and cultural leaders who will descend on Traquair House near Innerleithen next month for Books, Borders and Bikes – the region’s first international thought and literary festival.

Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish will discuss his recently published book I Shall Not Hate in which he describes how the tragedy neither hardened his heart nor weakened his resolve to act for humanity.

Also attending the two-day event on August 20 and 21 will be acclaimed Sunday Times war correspondent Marie Colvin who was reporting on a secret humanitarian disaster in the north of Sri Lanka in 2001 when she was attacked by soldiers and lost her eye to a shrapnel wound.

Ms Colvin delivered a moving address at last year’s special memorial service in St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, for the 48 journalists and other media workers who have died covering the conflicts of the 21st century, contending that war reporting must continue despite the dangers.

The appearances of Dr Abuelaish and Ms Colvin, who will speak about her experiences in Sri Lanka and Libya, represent a coup for event organiser Beyond Borders which, as reported last week, has already assembled an enviable line-up, including David Starkey, Jonathan Powell, William Dalrymple, Mark Thomas and Mariella Frostrup.

The Arab Spring will obviously be a topical focus of the festival, but there will also be thought-provoking contributions on many other turbulent and seminal arenas, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and beyond.

For more information, visit www.traquair.co.uk or call 01896 830323.

z Apologies for printing the wrong telephone number in last week’s article which also erroneously stated that Pakistani poet Fatima Bhutto would appear at the festival.