No room for more
LAHORE: A reading by Feryal Ali Gauhar of her novel Â‘No space for further burials’ was held at the South Asian Free Media Association (Safma).
Economist, filmmaker, writer and former UN goodwill ambassador, Feryal explores the subject of war, setting her novel in Afghanistan.
The protagonist of the story is a small town US army medical technician who is captured by Afghan rebels and locked up in an asylum. Written in the form of a diary with the time set in 2002, Feryal read out passages from the novel lending variations to her voice as the narrator changed. The book has strong symbolism throughout and was written in less than a month’s time. Feryal was five when the Indo-Pak war waged and she has been witness to gruesome images of the likes of wells being filled with dead bodies in the Burki area. She was also actively involved with the funds which were sent out to Iraq in the early 1990’s.
The asylum in her second novel is the place where the story revolves and this was an actual place in Kabul where people were raped and killed, according to Feryal.
Responding to questions after the reading out of passages from the novel, Feryal admitted to be overwhelmed by sadness and despair to taking up the pen or the medium of the film to express her point of views. The title too is the actual word used in a cemetery in Cantonment here.
People commended the fact that it’s very rare that war is being looked at from a woman’s perspective and slammed the fact that war reporting deals primarily with numbers and death tolls and sadly not the human side of the people who are lost to war. The trauma suffered by the family of any victim remains till the end and yet the media today is seen competing with its contemporaries for the most ‘exclusive news’.
As Feryal put it, the image of a local television channel recording the attack on the Sri Lankan team live at the Liberty roundabout was disturbing. Disturbing because the media person was recording the event but on the humanitarian side not doing anything to avert it or be of any help in some way. – Sadaf Siddiqui