Raja Shehadeh on Desert Island Discs
- Duration: 45 minutes
- First broadcast: Sunday 15 June 2014, repeat Friday 20 June 2014, 09:00, BBC Radio 4
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the Palestinian author and human rights activist, Raja Shehadeh.
Born in Ramallah in the West Bank, his life and writing has been dominated by displacement, struggle and a search for justice. His father was murdered in 1985 and aside from chronicling the unhappy history of his family and his homeland, he’s also co-founded the Palestinian human rights organisation Al-Haq – which monitors and documents violations by all sides in the Middle East conflict, publishing reports and detailed legal analysis on its findings.
Amid the heavy weight of his work he somehow finds time to nurture a glorious garden growing grapevines and pomegranates.
He says of his work, “When you write your thoughts and feelings and emotions … then you can move on to new ones. Otherwise, they will keep rotating in your mind and you will go in circles”.
Raja Shehadeh is a founder of the human rights organization, Al-Haq, an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists. He has written several books on international law, human rights and the Middle East. Strangers in the House was described by The Economist as “distinctive and truly impressive”. In 2008, he won the Orwell Prize, Britain’s pre-eminent award for political writing, for his book Palestinian Walks.
Shehadeh’s published works include:
Strangers in the House (2002)
When the Bulbul Stopped Singing (2003)
Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape (2007, 2nd edition published as Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape, 2008)
A Rift In Time: Travels With My Ottoman Uncle (2010)
Occupation Diaries (2012)