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As reported in Al-Hayat newspaper, 17 April 2010
Kikah Celebrates Its Eighth Birthday
The cultural website, Kikah, founded and edited from London by Iraqi writer Samuel Shimon has just celebrated its eighth birthday. Kikah opened a vista for Arab writers and poets to publish their works in, as well as giving them access to the works of others and to freely express their opinion of the material there.
Kikah is one of the most important Arab cultural websites and is open to any writer who cannot find a place to make his voice heard and to any article that has been censored. And although Kikah tends to be daring in what it publishes it is never pedestrian nor does it seek sensationalism. This website has become an oasis of freedom to which many writers resort. It never fell in the trap of gossip or backbiting and did not fight quixotic battles or tackle personal issues. With it, freedom of expression is accompanied by respect, tolerance and of accepting counter opinions, regardless of their position.
That is why Kikah has never attempted to engage in negating a name or a cause or a phenomenon by taking sides. It always treated all equally so long as they have the literary merit to express whatever opinions or positions they champion. Kikah opened its doors to young Arab writers where they write frequently. In addition, many new literary talents have Kikah as their launching pad.
For its birthday, Kikah received, and published, many letters from Arab writers from all over the region, from Lebanon and Syria all the way to North Africa and the diaspora in Europe and the Americas.
From those letters we choose a few lines sent by Iraqi poet and novelist Fadhil al-Azzawi who resides in Germany:
“Many are the Arabic literary websites nowadays, but none has earned its place in the hearts and minds of its readers like Kikah during the past eight years. Kikah is not simply a publisher of texts that get sent to it, it is more like a compass that leads to all that is modern and innovative and original in both Arab and world culture alike. It is a platform that celebrates young creative talents and work on bringing it to the attention of a wider audience. This made kikah the beloved site that it is.
“I know talented new writers who yearn to publish in kikah because they consider that as an admission of their talents and their license into the world of literature. However, the most important thing about kikah is that it kept its respectful distance from all the pettiness and all the feuds and the grudges common to the literary world. Kikah with its original writings and beautiful photos of our writers and charming female writers and poetesses is a constant source of joy and life and the yearning for creativity that bring down all obstacles that we might face in our work.
“My dear Samuel, Kikah did not only return to your dumb and mute father, he who never spoke a word and was able to hear even drum beats, the his ability to speak and hear, it earned him what is more precious than his dreamy love for the queen of England, instead it made him into a household name. Happy birthday, Kikah!”
Published in Arabic in Al-Hayat newspaper, 17 April 2010
Translated from the Arabic by Imad Kashan