Ramallah, MINA – No matter what they go through in what could become their daily routine, be it detentions, home demolitions, house searches, checkpoint inspections, Palestinians decide that they still have a chance to practice their old habit, reading.
With the participation of 350 publishers from around the world, the 12th Palestine International Book Fair opens on September 14, in the courtyard of the National Library in Ramallah, according to the Wafa news agency.
After a four-year absence due to the pandemic, the exhibition was held under the slogan “Palestine, homeland and Jerusalem, the capital”, and will run until September 24.
Palestinians from all over the West Bank make daily efforts to visit the book fair. They fought off Israeli military checkpoints and settler raids on the way to reach Ramallah and attend fair events or just walk around and view the various books on display.
The book fair is an opportunity for Palestinians to forget their daily problems, especially those caused by the Israeli occupation which restricts their movements and interferes in their daily lives, and to take a pleasant walk for a change.
The exhibition saw the participation of hundreds of publishers and cultural institutions from Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Eritrea, Qatar, Morocco, Kuwait, Sharjah, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Canada and Italy , while Tunisia was chosen. as guest of honor for the 2022 edition of the exhibition.
In addition, 150 Arab poets and writers participate in a series of seminars and cultural events, which offer visitors a variety of interesting, refreshing and energizing cultural programs, such as book signing sessions, music readings and poetry, etc
The book fair was installed on an area of 5,000 square meters in the Palestinian National Library. This is considered the National Library’s first event, in a building that is expected to be used for the palace of presidential guests and is still under construction.
“I presented the works of the Franco-German Institute of Culture at the exhibition,” says Dagmar Schneider, head of the library at the Franco-German Institute of Culture in Ramallah.
“I was impressed with the exhibit here. Lots of people, lots of families come, and they’re interested in the books and the activities. They came to ask us what we were doing and what they could do in our centre. I was surprised that so many people came,” said Schneider, who says his favorite books are Palestinian and Arab novels and historical works.
Sarah Nab’aa, from the Yunus Emre Institute, an international non-profit organization set up by the Turkish government, said the institute was present at the fair to show its books and advertise as they go. that new courses were coming.
Laith Ayyash, a volunteer with Give Palestine, said the association works to establish libraries in villages or camps near the Palestinian territories, occupied in 1948.
“We are trying to sell children’s books here to earn money to set up libraries in poor areas,” said Ayyash, whose favorite books include religion, psychology and philosophy.
Mahmoud Masri, who works on international legal cooperation at the Palestinian Anti-Corruption Commission, said the commission tries to promote its work to the public as much as possible.
“So far the exposure has been very good, and from what I’ve seen there are a lot of readers in Palestine, and there’s definitely an interest in reading,” Masri said, who says he’s a real fan of mystery novels.
Amnah Jameel, owner of the Amnah publishing house in Jordan, couldn’t help but be happy because she was able to attend a book fair in Palestine.
“We offer different types of books on politics, economics, culture, history, religion,” said Jameel who prefers philosophy books.
Khaled al-Muhannady, from Dar Nabja publishing house in Qatar, said he was happy to be here in Palestine to show his support for the cultural and literal movement in the country.
“Our books at the exhibition are not for sale but only for display, then we will donate them to Palestine,” said al-Muhannady, who says he reads almost all kinds of books.
Palestinian writer Nahed AlShawa, originally from Gaza and owner of Canadian publisher Noon Books: Nahed AlShawa Cultural said he intends to send his books to all the children of Palestine, because Palestine and its people miss him.
“Our goal is to publish a book in Arabic to create globally minded citizens, fight for freedom and fight against discrimination,” AlShawa said.
“The exposure is amazing. I’ve never been so comfortable; you feel like you’re among your friends and family,” he said.
Qasam Hamayel of the Al-Nasher publishing house stands in a corner displaying all the literary works written by the iconic Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.
“This is one of the best book fairs I have ever attended. The reception from the people was wonderful. I give it a 9 out of 10. Palestinians are real readers,” said Hamayel, who is a fan of literature and philosophy books.
Coming from Egypt, Mohammad al-Baa’ly of the Sefsafa publishing house said he was delighted to be in Palestine for the first time.
Yazeed Qasas of the Palestine Writing Workshop described his group as “a group of writers trying to encourage young readers to read more through meaningful stories and beautiful artwork and illustrations.”
“We have a lot of books; educational books, entertainment books, books with good illustrations that have good meanings,” Qasas said. “I have done other exhibitions but this is the biggest. I love seeing all the authors and illustrators. It is very good that the Palestinians are coming together. It shows how Palestinians love to be educated given that we are under occupation.
Writer Siham al-Sayegh, from the Palestinian Ministry of Culture, stands in a corner of Tunisia to oversee the guest of honor for the 2022 edition of the exhibition.
“The president has chosen Tunisia to be the guest of honor for the 2022 edition of the exhibition. You can find books on Tunisian heritage, and all of them are for display only, not for sale.” (T/R7/P2)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)
“Internet fanatic. Evil organizer. Tv fanatic. Explorer. Hipster-friendly social media junkie. Certified food expert.”