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Until Return - Issue 6

Palestine Library Progress Report
by Alan Santistevan, Al-Awda Media Center Administrative Assistant

What is the Palestine Library and what are its goals?

The Palestine Library will be a place where information on Palestinian history and the Palestinian struggle to regain their homeland is housed and made available for individuals within and outside the community. It is envisioned as a resource for those interested in the narrative and real history of the Palestinian people presented through their own voices via
biographies and memoirs, historical and current events analyses, and literature and poetry.

Due to the long years of Zionist influence over the cultural institutions of the US, today's public libraries, and unfortunately even some college libraries, have little or no material representing the Palestinian narrative, creating a void of real and accurate information. With the obvious bias of mainstream media and deliberate attempts to ignore or silence our voices, it really becomes crucial to make this important information available for all.

The establishment of a Palestine Library is especially important at this time because this year marks the 60th year of a tragic event in the history of humanity and for the Palestinian people with the Nakba. While Israel celebrates its so-called 60 years of 'statehood' its supporters ignore the reality of 60 years of Zionist occupation and 60 years since the Zionist genocide and forced expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and land. Not only is this 'celebration' problematic due to the true nature of Zionism, but more so because so many are celebrating without knowledge of why, supportive without really knowing what it is they are supporting. And, all the while, totally apathetic of the daily massacres and continued land theft, and unaware of the seven million refugees created by this state's so called "independence" the result of which still stands as the longest standing and largest refugee situation in modern times. And every country of our world bears some responsibility for it.

There are two main goals for The Palestine Library:

1). To serve the Palestinian community within the U.S. by creating a place that is 100% dedicated to the history, the struggle, the politics, the land, the heritage and culture of the Palestinian people. The Palestine Library will be a centerpiece for Palestinian unity in the local area and beyond. We view this Library as a place where Palestinians can reclaim their Arab culture, language, history and the numerous other things that have been stolen from us, and to rightfully explain just why this heritage was stolen. It is intended to be a place where Palestinian-American youth can learn about their history, culture and heritage.

2) To serve as a resource of information for the greater community by providing books not found in libraries, or information not given in mainstream media. The library will serve anyone who is unaware, interested, or even passionate about Palestinian or Arab history. It will be a place where people may come to get answers to their questions. It will serve as a place where people can come to begin to identify the truth through exposure to the Palestinian people's own narrative that is largely ignored in the US. Ultimately, The Palestine Library will serve as a community space where students, parents, professors, workers and activists may come together to peruse the library's books and journals, conduct research, write papers, browse the Internet, watch a DVD, or meet others with similar interests.

What progress have we made on the Palestine Library?

Before and since the 6th Al-Awda convention, we have obtained some book, furniture, and monetary donations, along with several computers and printers for general use. We have also added new books from author/speakers such as Ramzy Baroud, Saree Makdisi, Ghada Karmi, along with other great works from Edward Said, Nur Masalha, and Naseer Aruri. During our convention workshop about the Library Project, we also recruited volunteers to donate generously. We have created a couple of individual workspaces for people to use for research topics or internet browsing. Monetary donations will be used for acquiring more books and upgraded furnishings and computers for those who wish to use the library. We would like to make our first major acquisition: the entire written collections of Mahmoud Darwish and Edward Said!

We hope to fill the Palestine Library in the near future with new state of the art computers for reference and web surfing, TVs and DVD players for viewing documentaries and movies, additional library furnishings such as desks and chairs for studying and conducting research, along with lounge furniture for reading and relaxing.

Most importantly we need books for reference, reading, and check out. Finally, we would like to establish an online source that compliments the library for those without physical access to the library. This online source would include additional references, useful links, online journals, and representative work such as academic or research papers written by students or professors where the information they gathered was from the Palestine Library. Making the Library an international resource is a very exciting possibility.

So how can you help?

The Palestine Library is a community project and will thus greatly benefit from your input or assistance. If you have an idea you think would work, contact us by email or phone or visit us. Below are some of the ways you can help:

1) Think about some great books you've read that are consistent with our goals and points of unity and donate a copy to the library.

2) Become a monthly or yearly sustainer. Even small sustained donations really do help. For instance a $10 per month donation adds up to $120 a year. Think of all the books that can buy!

3) Are you an author? Make your book(s) part of the Palestine Library collection by donating a copy.

4) Reside out of the area? How about contributing to the online data base of additional references outside the library.

5) Donate your time working as a library aide. Library aide tasks would include organizing and arranging book titles, maintaining library tidiness, or managing the library computers and workstations. There are many ways to help out with this project. Whatever your donation,
you will be participating in supporting our Palestinian people's great cause: the achievement of Return! Donating to this project assists students and future generations in the pursuit of the knowledge needed to reclaim the homeland.

What can be more rewarding, more liberating, more vital to the future than this?

To contact us by email, please write to To submit a monetary donation, please go to and follow the instructions.

To send us a donation by mail, the Palestine Library is currently located at the Al-Awda National Center in Carlsbad California. Our address is: PRRC, 2734 Loker Avenue West Suite K, Carlsbad, CA 92010, USA

To donate by phone or to inquire about our library hours, call us at 760-918-9441. Our fax number is 760-918-9442

Thank You For Your Generosity. We depend on it!

Until Return,
Alan Santistevan


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