The people of Lahore did not let a suicide bomber stop them from celebrating the importance of the arts in society. Just two days before their third annual literary festival, the Pakistani city of Lahore was struck by a suicide bomber. Nonetheless they did not cancel the event even after threats and ambassador cancellations.

Located in the Alhamra Arts Centre in the city known as the “city of gardens,” the festival opened up to artists, activists, and intellectuals from all walks of life. There were key speeches held throughout the event that showed just how powerful words can be and the need for expression and progress.  83 year-old Indian historian Romila Thapar received a standing ovation after discussing history as a “dialogue of between the present and the assumed past.”

Eve Ensler, author of “The Vagina Monologues” and founder of One Billion Rising, a campaign that WordTheatre will be hosting a benefit performance for this Saturday, attended the festival and discussed her work, “In the Body of the World.” She, as did all the speakers throughout the festival, brought forth topics of extreme importance regarding our current state of being.

But what is so important about the continuation and holding of this festival is that it is about the country’s future. Lahore is a privileged city in a nation of rising violence, injustice, and politics. These people want nothing more than to see their nation rise up from under the siege. Amid the tight security, this bubble of literature, art, poetry, music, food, and ideas, celebrated the idea of age-old conflicts and poisoned relationships being resolved in years to come.

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