02 July 2018

Books not Walls, our weapons are books

Born in 2016 through the efforts of some students of Bethlehem University, the group now involves dozens of students, united by the desire to build and change the world through culture.

Archaeology, Culture, and other Religions

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MOHAMMED AL-ARAJ
Books not Walls
My first favorite book is "The distance between us is a martyr" by Yamin Nobani.

MALAK SHAWAHNAH
Books not Walls
Mine is The 40 rules of love by Elif Shafak. It's one of the books that most influenced my life ...

OSAMA ABDALLAH AWAD
Books not Walls
The first books I read were written by the Palestinian novelist Ghassan Kanafani, the Saudi author Abdelrahman Munif and some Arab poets


They are students of Arab literature, business and psychology, history and geography or even computer science. Different paths and backgrounds, but they all belong to the student group Books not Walls.

AHMAD ABU MUNSHAR
Books not Walls
The idea of Books not Walls was born thanks to me and my colleague Mira, when he was in the fourth year and was about to graduate. We started because we realized that something was missing in the university. We wondered how it was possible that there was no cultural group of this kind in Palestine. We were struck by the presence of the wall around Bethlehem and this is where we took the idea of the name of the group from, because we believe that we can break down walls with books: the walls of racism and the walls in front of our eyes.


Born in the fall of 2016 under the arcades of Bethlehem University, where young Christians and Muslims mostly from Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Hebron study, today the group welcomes dozens of university students and continues to grow. At the heart of the project lies the love for reading and the certainty that through culture we can make a revolution and build.


AHMAD ABU MUNSHAR
Books not Walls
Our small purpose at the beginning, was to accept others and accept cultural differences and new thinking, because we believe that Palestinian youth represents a hope for new generations and that we are more equipped to face employment. We believe in the peaceful way, we do not attack anyone with weapons. Our only weapons are books and knowledge.

MALAK SHAWAHNAH
Books not Walls
Books are a sum of experiments that have been carried out over hundreds of years, so when we read them and reflect on them we can generate a better culture and society. We have several initiatives aimed at promoting culture, first of all that of our members, and we encourage them to love what they are doing. Sometimes we organize moments of social and religious dialogue, because we are open to the other, we believe in the freedom of conscience and reject religious repression that has been imposed on society. We always try to promote critical thinking among students and help them express themselves and promote the freedom of developing their talents.


A bookstore in which one can take and leave books for free, moments of reading in front of the Separation Wall between Palestine and Israel or even meetings to discuss and deal with various issues. The initiatives are of the most varied kinds and always manage to intrigue or leave a mark.


OSAMA ABDALLAH AWAD
Books not Walls
There was an exhibition of books organized on the occasion of Women's Day and it impressed me that they had arranged them so beautifully, besides the fact that they proposed works by both male and female authors. (...) Then I got to know better the team members and I joined. (...) It really had a big impact on my personality: the nice thing I saw in this group is that I had the chance to compare myself with others in a different way. The most important thing is that they focus on books and encourage others to read. This is my favorite thing.


MOHAMMED AL-ARAJ
Books not Walls
This team is like a family and helps students mature their personalities.
When I joined I was one person, now I'm a very different one!
My general culture has improved, the way I treat others has changed, as well as my way of discussing or thinking.


AHMAD ABU MUNSHAR
Books not Walls
You realize that what we are doing is a seed of goodness for the students, which continues to grow. For example, I will graduate soon and other students will find what we have done for them. This is a journey that will continue thanks to those who will come after us... and we will see what great things we have done! ...