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Librarians give New York subway riders a taste of Palestinian literature to protest Gaza assault

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A bookmark given out to New York subway riders. (Photo: Librarians And Archivists With Palestine

A bookmark given out to New York subway riders. (Photo: Librarians And Archivists With Palestine

On Saturday, August 2, Librarians and Archivists with Palestine (LAP) conducted a solidarity action in New York City, riding the 2/3 line, handing out bookmarks, and reading aloud excerpts of Palestinian literature. “We are librarians and archivists who support Palestinian rights and oppose Israel’s bombing and siege of the Gaza Strip,” they explained. “We are here to share with you Palestinian literature in an effort to honor Palestinian life in the face of massacre.” Among the pieces they read during this action was Suheir Hammad’s “What I Will,” which reads, in part, “I will not/ dance to your war/ drum. I will/ not lend my soul nor/ my bones to your war/ drum. I will/ not dance to your/ beating. I know that beat./ It is lifeless…. I/ will not hate for you or/ even hate you. I will/ not kill for you./ Especially/ I will not die/ for you.”


Reaction was mostly positive: some passengers applauded, some posed for pictures with the group, and others engaged in conversation. In all, LAP distributed almost 400 bookmarks.

PDFs of the material used in this action are available for download on the LAP website. Others are welcome to use these materials to stage similar actions in their communities.

Today’s public reading is just one of many actions that LAP members are undertaking in light of Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza. Earlier this week, the group released a statement — co-signed by the Progressive Librarians Guild— opposing the siege on Gaza.

For more photos of the action, click here.

Hannah Mermelstein

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12 Responses

  1. amigo on August 4, 2014, 11:12 am

    Good for them.

    There are many good people out there who just need to be engaged in a conversation about this so called intractable conflict.

    I traveled back by train from the Dublin Protest on Saturday and overheard several people discussing the “scandalous ” Israeli behaviour in Gaza.I naturally jumped at the chance to show some images of injured Palestinian children ,from AJ which I happened to be on line to.
    I also managed to give out several BDS fliers which list products from the OT. If only one of those people avoid buying these poisonous goods I will consider that a successful day. I of course, will never know, but I am confident some will.

    BDS will be a long hard slog , but it will not be in vain.That is proven by Israel,s endless efforts to kill it off.

  2. Pixel on August 4, 2014, 11:45 am


    And this, at the same time Evanston Public Library ( Evanston, IL) has cancelled Ali Abunimah’s talk!

  3. Denis on August 4, 2014, 12:51 pm

    Speaking of subways . . . what is the latest word on the fight to take down the Boston subways One Word campaign?

  4. LanceThruster on August 4, 2014, 1:52 pm

    I hope that the end of the strictly one-sided narrative is coming soon.

  5. pedro on August 4, 2014, 2:57 pm

    Quite interesting, it seems that more of the world are fighting for the dignity of the Palestinians in Gaza and the criminal slaughter being waged by Israel. When will this slaughter stop? Even U. N. hospitals targeted! And, of course, the Israelis just have to say “oops”. Why is the U.S. so complicit?

  6. adele on August 4, 2014, 3:14 pm

    Fantastic! A really creative and effective action on their part.

  7. michelle on August 4, 2014, 5:17 pm

    is this the truth in information age
    if so maybe there will be some real change
    wouldn’t it be nice if local print shops signed on
    G-d Bless

  8. Palikari on August 4, 2014, 5:47 pm

    If I had been in NY subway then, I would have had an argument with them.

  9. Inanna on August 4, 2014, 8:54 pm

    Yet another of the gajillion reasons why librarians are awesome.

    • just on August 4, 2014, 9:14 pm

      Very true.

      Many thanks “Librarians and Archivists with Palestine”! The pictures are wonderful.

  10. In2u on August 4, 2014, 9:34 pm

    Librarians and Archivists with Palestine what a wonderful idea!

  11. globalconsciousness on August 4, 2014, 11:03 pm

    How wonderful – what a great idea!
    Bravo to LAP and all who are brave enough to take up the challenge in spreading the word to those around them…

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