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Novelist Alae al-Said carries Palestinian pain and hope to Rome

A hug does not necessarily need arms. It can be with a word, a book, a novel, and honest letters. Love is not restricted to people. It can be for homelands whether near or far.

The hug the Palestinian young woman Alae al-Said sent to her homeland was a 272-page novel telling the stories and memories of people living under brutal occupation.

In her novel “Sabun” (Soap), Alae wrote in Italian stories of love, ambition, suffering, patience, and oppression inspired by her father’s childhood memories in the West Bank city of Nablus before he emigrated to Milan.

“I started to think about writing a novel in 2014. The novel events take place in Nablus, where my father was born and grew up, start in 1987, with the outbreak of the First Intifada, and end in 2014,” said Alae who studies Political Science and International Relations at the University of Milan.

Through the character of the Palestinian girl Asia and her father, who owns a soap (sabun) factory in Nablus, Alae conveys the repeated image of the Israeli occupation which constantly robs the Palestinians of their dreams and thwarts their ambitions.

“Every Palestinian in the diaspora has a responsibility of telling the Palestinian story,” Alae stressed.

At a time when the Israeli propaganda (Hasbara) is spreading in Europe to promote the false Israeli narrative and influence the international public opinion, Alae’s concern is to touch as many hearts as possible and spread awareness among the Italians in particular about the life of the Palestinian people who are suffering from oppression and displacement.