Within the activities of Doha, Capital of Culture in the Islamic World 2021, the Qatari Forum For Authors held the first session of the initiative “Dialogue of Mind … Youth Debates” under the supervision of Mr. Hamad Al-Tamimi, director of youth programs. The initiative aims to enhance the role of young authors and encourage freedom of opinion and criticism and respect for different opinions through presenting competitive episodes that discuss a range of intellectual and cultural issues, to be broadcasted on the Forum channel on YouTube.
The session revolved around the goal of writing books, in which two teams were debating. The first team that included writers Abdul Rahman Al-Obaidli and Muhammad Al-Hammadi was led by the writer Issa Abdullah, while the second team, which consisted of writers Yara Al-Sheikh and Fayza Al-Halaq, was led by the writer Lina Al-Aali. The writer, Professor Kaltham Abdul Rahman, researcher and critic, commented on the interventions of the two teams, expressing some methodological observations in their performance, as Lina’s team was armed with passion and service for knowledge and culture, while Issa’s team was armed with making profits from writing.
The Qatari Forum for Authors allowed social media users to vote for the team that convinced them with their argument in the “Dialogue of Mind” initiative.
Writer Lina Al-Aali started the proceedings of the first debate of the “Dialogue of Mind” initiative, by stressing that writing is a talent, and that man does not expect a profit from practicing his hobby. Yara Al-Sheikh commented on Lina’s words saying: “Writing has sublime goals, which are; advancing the thinking of people and society, then building a conscious generation of individuals, and contributing to the development of society”. As for Fayza Al-Halaq, she assured that the production of knowledge guarantees the development of societies, “When a person has a talent, this talent must be used for knowledge, and that there can be no writer who begins to count the profits, so we write to immortalize certain idea and message, and to communicate human patrimony in all areas in which a person can write.”
As for Issa’s team, they commented on the first team’s opinions. The first comment came from Muhammad Al-Hammadi saying that if the writer is not getting material profits, “how can he write to revive the human heritage, and therefore the creator must be honored and provided with incentives as long as he presents a lofty goal, especially since the writer always makes researches and strives over many years to present his results to the public. Therefore, he needs a profit just as he needs a publishing house that does justice to him financially and morally.”
For his part, Abdul-Rahman Al-Obaidly asserted that the writer sacrifices his time to leave a legacy for the community, “so how can he be ignored and not provide him with a source of livelihood, and therefore it is necessary to provide an income for the writer, and to harness the appropriate environment for his creativity, and that the writer is talented, then why does not he earn from his talent.”
In another theme of the debate between the two teams about the best way to write to convey thought, Yara Al Sheikh (from the team of writer Lina Al-Aali) began by saying that “lofty goals must carry sincere spirits”, while Fayza Al-Halaq indicated that writing in the Arab world, from her point of view, is “not an industry”, expressing her sorrow “because we are a nation that does not read.” However, the writer Issa Abdullah expressed his rejection of the comparison between writers of the Arab world and their counterparts in the Western world, “Likewise, there is no comparison between writing on both sides”, wondering whether there are sponsors for artworks, so why not be the same with sponsoring literary publications, so that the production could be in abundance.
Muhammad Al-Hammadi (from Issa’s team) disagreed with Fayza Halaq’s opinion regarding her saying, “We are a nation that does not read”. He pointed out that “we are a nation that reads, but we do not appreciate the book”. In fact, every house contains many different books, but they are not appreciated. Therefore, they have been stored in the shelves,” pointing out that the stock of Arab publications is abundant.
In turn, Abdul-Rahman Al-Obaidly stressed that writing is not easy and it needs time and reading, “So the writer needs motivation”. He wondered about the lack of book industry like other industries so that we can truly be a nation that reads.
At the end of the debate session, the researcher and critic, Professor Kaltham Abdul Rahman, made some observations in which she confirmed that “difference is a mercy, and that it enriches everyone cognitively, and that the comments that she witnessed were rich.” She pointed out that some of the opinions that tended to talk about the writer’s stardom were idealistic.
She commented: “Writing is overcoming all obstacles, servicing one’s self, and nourishment for the soul, otherwise we would not have heard about so many valuable publications.”
She also asked, “Can we not create a new generation, such as Nizar Qabbani and Najib Mahfoudh? Therefore, writing is a trust, and we must instill in this generation the spirit of responsibility, to maintain writing, and to get a new generation that keep what they write beyond time and space.”