Waciny Laredj Interview: Towards a New Humanity

“What makes us human is those little gestures.” In this interview Algerian writer and academic Waciny Laredj talks about Islamism and democracy, and about how some religious leaders are learning to accept the modern world.

“But the question is, are they really convinced, or are they just pretending in order to get in power — then they will close all the doors to democracy.” Laredj talks of the positive leadership of Islamic politicians in Tyrkey, but also of the assassination of free thinking writers by Islamist dictators in the Arab world. Certain books are banned but none the less circulated in Arab countries.

Laredj also explains why he gives all his royalties to a Christian-Muslim children’s hospital, and suggests that more writers and artists should help out where help is needed: “Not just for the material aspect, but for the feeling of being human — in a world starting to be closed on itself.”

Waciny Laredj (b.1954) is an Algerian novelist, short story writer and academic, who is a professor of literature at the Sorbonne in Paris.

Laredj obtained a BA in Arabic literature from the University of Algiers and then went off to Syria to pursue postgraduate studies, aided by a government scholarship. He obtained an MA and a PhD from the University of Damascus. ‘The Andalusian House’, nominated for the Aran Nooker Prize in 2011, draws on the authors Spanish-Arab roots and develops as a family chronicle across countries and centuries, with the family’s Andalusian house in Algeria as the emotional and dramatic focus of the tale.

Waciny Laredj was interviewed by Bjørn Bredal, Politiken Daily Newspaper, at Louisiana Literature 2013

Filmed by Klaus Elmer

Editing by Kamilla Bruus

Produced by Christian Lund & Marie Skibsted

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2014.

Supported by Nordea-fonden.


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