Henning Mankell … a life full of creativity and moral commitment to man and his issues

Swedish author Henning Mankell (1948-2015) is best known for his series of detective novels about the character of detective Kurt Valander. The island of Cyprus is on its way to Gaza to lift the siege on it, and to draw the world’s attention to the ugliness of the occupation and the siege to which it is being subjected, which is providing aid to the besieged Palestinians. 750 human rights activists took part in the convoy, including a number of important and influential figures, as members of parliaments in various European and Arab countries. Arab members of the Israeli Knesset have announced writers and poets, including Mankel, who appeared on Swedish Channel 4 for ten minutes, that he will join the Gaza ship, which has increased the volume of donations by about 15% within one week .

But the Freedom Flotilla ended tragically, when Israel stormed peaceful ships into international waters, and committed the ugliest thing it could do on peaceful activists, including live bullets and gas, until nine of them died, and arrested the rest and humiliated them.

Author Henning Mankell documented his voyage and published in his diaries, exposing the fascist apartheid regime in Israel, as he recorded and later published these diaries on board the ship.

The Swedish author Henning Mankell is best known for his series of detective novels, and he won the Swedish Literature Prize, but his fame reached us in a more real way after his participation in the Freedom Flotilla, which left the island in May 2010, from Cyprus to Gaza to end the siege.

The team of activists did not escape the violence, humiliation and inhumanity that Israel inflicts on the Palestinian people. “When they brought us to Israel, and I do not know where, they forced us to run in the streets with military television showing us,” Mankell recalls in his diary. “I think of this, especially this one, which I will never forgive them.”

The Israeli soldiers stole everything in their possession of equipment and money, and Henning Mankell even stole his shoes, so the hostess donated a shoe for him on the way back.

At the end of his diary, he wrote: “Now there is still work to be done, and not to forget the goal of lifting the siege on Gaza, and it will be lifted, followed by other goals. The apartheid regime must be ended “It will take time, but it will not last forever.”

Mankell was always a left-wing activist, dedicated to his ideas, as he combined the saying with action, he also took part in the protests against the apartheid regime in South Africa, as well as in the protests against the Vietnam War and others. In 2007, he donated 15 million kroner to an organization that looks after children in Mozambique, and he is one of the few writers who has paid attention to the black continent, so he visited several African countries, and he lived in Mozambique for a long time. during which he established the theater in his capital.

He has also written for children, young adults and in the theater, writing non-police novels that are attached to the concerns of man in general, especially in his country Sweden, and the suffering of man in his seemingly ordinary life, but is at odds with stories of love, belonging and melancholy that facilitate his life in the forests and between the fluctuations of nature, vast snow, storms and islands Isolated, as in his novel “The Italian Shoe Factory”, which the biography tells of a surgeon who chose isolation. on one of the islands, after ending his successful career with a medical error, as a result of which a young woman lost her hand swimming, to start while digging his boring routine life on the island quietly digging inside him defeated, but changes His life with an unexpected visit to his beloved on the island, which he left almost forty years ago, to change his life within one year, after many adventures, and get him out of his isolation by himself confront.

Author Henning Mankell documented his voyage from Cyprus to Gaza to expose the fascist apartheid regime in Israel, as he recorded and later published these diaries on board the ship.

His ex-girlfriend asks him to keep a promise he’s made to her since the beginning of their love, by taking her to a lake where he accompanied his father when he was young, and during that time knows he that his girl has stomach cancer, and that her days are numbered, and that behind the visit not only demands the promise, but getting to know the His daughter is on the way back, he is the father of a girl in her thirty, and his girlfriend would not have told him so if she had not been dying.

The novel carries that description of the unique natural things and phenomena that envelop life in the north, with that simplicity and beauty that stimulates the reader’s imagination and transfers him to another world that is forced by nature and reflected in the inside of her being human. Over the course of 370 pages, the pace of the novel seems to be slow, as life looks and reflects, as the snow falls with that slowness and the ice covers the ground for a long time, melting with the same slowness that we constantly touch, with the emphasis the gloom that stretches like the bitter cold, which is irresistible, until one can die in His loneliness without making any noise, and he is only found after a time, like that old woman living alone in her house died in the woods, so her dog went out to the road and waited for a passing car to take him home to bury her, life in these remote areas only disturbed death For a while, without stopping her to influence path, as she goes on with her life without the slightest affection, “The earth cries out to the bodies of the centenarians.”

This is a real ordeal, as there are areas in Sweden without inhabitants, as the author tells us, and train journeys to them can stop forever. The remaining inhabitants of these areas suffer from severe loneliness and isolation, which makes their lives a permanent depression, which also turns into a real alienation from society, people and themselves, and for various reasons, but all are enveloped by the difficult reality of the lack of harmony between man and the grinding wheel of civilization in his progress, which he suffers. The old generation as well as the new generation, the young generation in an elderly society will suffer from a loss of emotional interest, and thus will inherit alienation whose causes differ between the old generation, and turn to the issue of refugees who trying to build a new life in a European country that has all the reasons for luxury, to lose social relationships in it. The intimacy they were forced to leave in their backward and politically enlightened countries, and their alienation, caused by a lack of adjustment, began.

“The Italian Shoe Factory” is a novel that deals with human causes, in the manner of the author Henning Mankell, who lived and died, and confirms that he belongs to man and his just causes.

Despite the seemingly slow pace of life, there is a hot past and furious struggle within each character, as in the life of the protagonist who also suffers from his own alienation caused by the loss of power to his own problem. to face.

Just as nature thrives in the midst of its climatic fluctuations, the author’s language flourishes with unique and sublime comparisons, in harmony with its distinctive changes to the geographically distant reader. To describe the sounds, he says: “The sounds that are waiting for their turn to enter the silence.” Language is also the daughter of the neighborhood, and the hero says that there are phrases that are the daughter of forests and villages, that the people of cities no longer circulate, because their actions also receded in the city and its fast life, like the phrase “make me beautiful.” He says on page 159: “Language lives differently in the depths of the forest than in the big cities, where words are pushed out like untouchables.” Communication in the big cities has become very difficult in the fast wheel of life, and invisible walls are rising among people as a result of this inflation.

The hero realizes his mistakes that limit him, and the hole he digs in the ice every day to bathe in ice water is nothing more than a purifier he practices every day to atone for the mistakes he makes in his life. committed, from his abandonment of his loved ones, to his cowardice over the medical error he had committed, but the return of his sick friend and the intrusion into his life changed his being. He begins his confrontations with his mistakes, so he apologizes to the young woman who cut off her hand, and offers her his island and home to invest in her project (shelter of girls suffering from psychological crises after going through the society has been abandoned), and tries to pave the way in his relationship with his discovered daughter, and commits him to his wife who fights death to the end. In one year he has achieved what he should have done years ago, he is the one whose life is starting to run out, but when he realizes it, he does his best to make a difference.

Maybe this is what his daughter, who is struggling in her own way, taught her problems in a different way. It sends letters to the people of concern, from heads of government, countries and celebrities, in which they express their rejection of their behavior on important issues. It even infiltrates the meeting of European Union ministers to appear naked, in a kind of protest against the neglect and vandalism of caves discovered in Europe, which contains rare human drawings The ancient and its artistic heritage.

The question remains, why the title? It is the hidden reference to the state of alienation that occurs in European man in the light of civilized progress, where the hero gets to know his daughter’s friend, one of the ancient Italian shoe designers, who fled to the far north to silence enjoyment and solitude, after realizing how modern industry destroys individual skill, and kills the spirit that accompanies it. The craftsman gives it to the piece he makes, the completion of one shoe takes a few months from the designer to appear as a masterpiece, and he lives there contentedly and designs shoes for celebrities.

He gave the doctor’s daughter a red shoe, as if she were Cinderella fleeing from pettiness and consumption, and she did not stop declaring her anger and rejection of them, so she appeared in a meeting of the responsible European Union chiefs and condemned her objection to the killing of art and the irresponsibility with which it was treated with nudity, as the highest degree of dissatisfaction with reality.

“The Italian Shoe Factory” is a novel that deals with human causes, in the manner of the author who lived and died, and emphasizes her belonging to man and his just cause. Henning Mankell passed away after suffering from cancer of the neck and lungs and leaving a rich literary and militant legacy that deserves our appreciation.

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