Iconic Gaza Bookshop Reopens Months After Israeli Bombing

Mahmoud Assaf, a Gaza-based Palestinian author looks for his books in the wreckage of the library. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

An iconic Gaza bookshop, destroyed in an Israeli airstrike last May, reopened on Thursday, lifting the spirits of its ecstatic owner and a large crowd of well-wishers celebrating the moment, The New Arab reported.

Last May, an Israeli air raid turned Samir Mansour’s library into a heap of rubble after serving for many years as a primary intellectual source for Palestinian authors, researchers, and students. The 100,000 books at the shop became piles of torn papers mired in ash and dust.

Prior to the destruction of the library, a reader could find an endless list of books, whether scholarly books, religious volumes, or a large number of translated international works – Russian literature, English novels, or South American authors.

“I was devastated when the shop was destroyed and our friends and loved ones have boosted my morale. But today I was born again, today is a new birthday for me,” he said.

In the early 1980s, Mansour was only 15 years old when he assumed his first job, helping his father with the library. In 2000, he developed his father’s project further by establishing a publishing house, which later became an essential outlet for Palestinian authors and educators, especially after the hermetic blockade on the Gaza Strip in 2006.

(The Palestine Chronicle, The New Arab, Social Media)

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