I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic
The first thing I discovered is that we live in an oral society that doesn’t write things down… my fear has been that our present and our past were subject to destruction. The other thing is that I am Lebanese… I discovered that this society had erased its history, as if carried along with it a big fat eraser with which it blotted out its own history. So we have a situation where there is no written text about the war of 1860 and nothing about the revolution of 1920 or the revolution of 1958. What terrified me was that I was living a war (1975-) whose fate might well be similar to the fate of the wars that preceded it and so I had to write it myself.
(Elias Khoury, in an interview published in the Lebanese monthly literary magazine Al Adab, August 1993).