Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Great Book Robbery

Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 82

We must rate the risky jobs by the level of alcoholism among the employees, like the police force.
People interpreted wrongly their observations of animals and came to this conclusion: “The world belong to the fittest”.
We are in constant fear from the methodological application of this monstrosity “The world belong to the fittest”.
One of the plans of the genes is to decide whether we are to be one of the human species or a bacteria.
Together, the bacteria in the intestine have 150 times more genes than us, called microbiome
 
The Great Book Robbery film shown for the first time in Palestine on January 12, 2013 to an audience of almost 150 people. The documentary by Israeli-Dutch director Benny Brunner unfolds the story of at least 70,000 books looted from Palestinian homes and institutions in 1948.

Shortly after the revolution, this ingrained reasoning of the old story of catering first to current elite classes in order to smooth out transition is a plausible short-term tactic that kills the revolt for sustained transformation

The elites classes reap the benefits under all situations and conditions, in the short, medium, and long-term, and quickly orient the revolution toward the old-time structure… Robespierre and Marrat changed the trend, until Napoleon took over

“Authority is reduced to almost nothing, the day it becomes an object of discussion for lack of instinctive respect” (Alexis de Tocqueville)

“The spirit that guided the French Revolution was the books and pamphlets written in the abstract.

The same fondness for general theories, complete systems of legislation, and exact symmetry in the laws.

The same taste for the original, ingenious, and novel in institutions.

The same urge to remake the entire constitution in accordance with the rules of logic and a uniform plan…

What is meritorious in a writer is more often than Not a flaw in a statesman.” A de T.

Isn’t the same path that Lenin undertook in the soviet revolution? Isn’t what happened in 1848 when the republicans failed to deliver what the people demanded after ousting Louis Phillip from power? Is the EU Constitution also mainly based on abstract notions?

“Free access to tools that permit private and individual power to tailor-made education, find inspiration, model our environment and share our adventure with all who need them…”(Stewart Brand in his Whole Earth catalogue, 1968)

Sound that the less fortunate can make good use of these opportunities.

That was half a century ago, many are applying this opportunity when available, though only the elite class is mainly profiting from any of these facilities.

L’ ennui fait un lent travail de sape de notre envie de vivre et de notre energy. Ecoutez les vieillards et les jeunes qui non pas le sous for modern entertainment

C’ etait la librarie de ses reves: la plupart des livres avaient ete’ lus

Les injustices du terrorism des Blancs sont peut-etre historiques: c’ est justement que je n’ ai pas l’ impression que nous en sortions

Qana of Gallile  (Qana al Jalil) is a town in south Lebanon, by Tyre.  It is where Marie was born and lived most of her life before moving to Nazareth with Joseph, and returned after he passed away. Current Gallile was included in the judicial province of Tyre before and after the Roman Empire.

Jesus performed his teaching in East Sidon before moving south to spread his message after he performed the wine miracle in Qana Jalil (current Lebanon).

The place where Jesus transformed water into wine is in Qana (current Lebanon). A town called Jalil (Gallile) facing Qana on the south side. Qana is where Marie was born and her parents lived

Stolen Identity? Stealing the Books: What Did Israel Do with Palestinians’ Literary Heritage? 

Have you seen “The Great Book Robbery”?

Gish Amit, an Israeli PhD student at the time (2005-9) said:

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Nora Lester Murad posted on Jan. 20, 2013:

AP 1 corr

The camera follows two Palestinians (with Israeli citizenship) from the counter at Israel’s National Library to a table. They carry a small stack of books from a collection labeled “AP” for “Absentee Property.”

They sit awestruck in front of the collection. They touch covers showing respect for the books, their rightful owners, and the Nakba that caused Palestinians to lose their country and heritage.

One of the Palestinians opens a book and finds “Khalil Sakakini” written by hand in the inside cover. He gasps.

The audience watching the film, crammed into the basement floor of Educational Bookshop on Salah Al-Din Street in Jerusalem, is captivated.  I crane my neck to see past the tall woman in front of me.

The importance of this book, a one-time possession of one of the Arab world’s most important educators and nationalists, jumps off the screen. I feel an unspoken sadness in the room as we grasp the reality: This priceless piece of Palestinian heritage, and so many others, is held by Israel’s National Library.

This scene is one of many gripping scenes in the film, “The Great Book Robbery” shown for the first time in Palestine on January 12, 2013 to an audience of almost 150 people. The documentary by Israeli-Dutch director Benny Brunner unfolds the story of at least 70,000 books looted from Palestinian homes and institutions in 1948.

Benny Brunner, a longtime maker of films says of himself: “His work is subversive in nature and has proven to be a thorn in the collective Israeli establishment’s backside.”

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It is widely known that when approximately 750,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled from Palestine before and after the establishment of Israel, most Palestinian land and belongings were lost.

This film highlights the plight of books. It’s a story that isn’t well-known, and to lovers of books, it is particularly tragic.

According to the film, Gish Amit, a PhD student at the time (2005-9), stumbled by accident upon Israeli documents attesting to the “collection” of books Palestinian books in 1948 as he was writing his dissertation about archives.

Among papers preserved at the National Library, Amit found detailed documentation about approximately 30,000 Palestinian books that were taken from private homes and institutions in Jerusalem, by staff of the National Library in coordination with the army.

In an article originally published in Haaretz, Amit commented on the fact that documentation of the theft was found in the Library itself. He said,

“It is the paradoxical structure of any archive: the place that preserves the power and organizes it is also the place that exposes the violence and wrongdoing. In this respect, the archive is a place that undermines itself.”

Only about 6,000 books are still labeled “Absentee Property”—and these, we were told, can be seen by logging into the National Library of Israel and searching by call numbers starting with AP.

Brunner speculates that the other 24,000 books that are listed in the documentation are either mixed in with the general collection or have been lost or destroyed.

Another 50,000-60,000 books are known to have been looted from other parts of Palestine, mostly textbooks, which Brunner speculated were mostly destroyed or sold. During the discussion that followed the film, he also made the point that rare manuscripts (estimated by a knowledgeable member of the audience as numbering around 50,000 originating from 56 libraries in and around Jerusalem) are not included in the estimates and are totally unaccounted for.

There are rare Palestinian manuscripts in the collection at the National Library, but they are not accessible by the general public. There are also rare Palestinian manuscripts at Hebrew University.

Brunner added: “We should remember the film only addresses books that were stolen in 1948. We don’t know the details of what happened in 1967, though we do know there is a pattern of Israeli looting of Palestinian books, photographs and archives, including the PLO archives in Lebanon. (when Israel entered the capital Beirut in 1982)”

To prove this point, a member of the audience later told me that a rare copy of Palestine in Pictures from the early 1920s was confiscated by the Israelis when her father crossed Allenby Bridge from Jordan in 1987 after he waited five hours to get it back. He finally asked for and was given a receipt for his book, but as history proves, documentation does not necessarily lead to restitution. The only other copy the owner knows of is in Bodlian Library at Oxford University

The Great Book Robbery, which took five years to make, was broadcast by Al Jazeera English and seen in fifty countries, and has also been screened in the three major cinemas in Israel. The director has so far been unable to arrange a showing on Israeli television.

Apparently, there is some controversy over whether the original intention was to protect the books or to steal them, but regardless of the original intent, the Israel National Library, in cooperation with the Israeli Custodian of Abandoned Property has kept Palestinian private property for over 64 years and made no effort to return it to its rightful owners.

In fact, according to Benny Brunner, until the 1950, each card in the catalog listed the book with a code that linked it to the place where it came from, thus identifying the original owner. However, those codes were erased in the late 1950s.

Those who watched The Great Book Robbery that night were visibly moved. The film showed the vibrancy of Palestinian literary and cultural life before 1948, how it was stolen (with poignant quotes by a Palestinian prisoner of war who was forced to take part in looting his own village), and the impact on Palestinian identity and well-being today.

Many seemed inspired by the movie’s concluding slide which noted that:

1) no effort has been made by Israel to return the stolen books;

2) nor has there been any organized effort by Palestinians to claim them.

Questions:

1. Should there be a national effort by Palestinians to reclaim books stolen in 1948 and since?

2. What Palestinian entity is the best custodian for these national treasures?

3. Would a successful claim on books strengthen the Palestinian claim on other stolen property or would a piecemeal approach starting with books weaken the Palestinian national movement for self-determination and reparations on a broader scale?

Note 1: Nora Lester Murad, PhD, writes fiction and commentary from Jerusalem, Palestine. Her blog, “The View from My Window in Palestine” addresses issues of international development and life under military occupation

She is a life-long social justice activist and a founder of Dalia Association, Palestine’s first community foundation. She tweets from @NoraInPalestine.

Note 2: Nora Lester Murad recently went to see Benny Brunner’s film, The Great Book Robbery and reviewed it in this post.

Editor’s note: From the Book Robbery website: “We are preparing a US screening tour in February 2013. If you are interested in ordering or organising a screening in your community, group, or organisation, please contact our tour manager Karina Goulordava <karinaig89(at)gmail.com> for details.”


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April 2020
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