A brief but happy update: The Bookseller has reported that Samir Mansour Bookshop, the largest bookstore in Gaza, will reopen next week after being destroyed by an Israeli airstrike last May. The reopening was made possible by a GoFundMe campaign led by human rights lawyers Mahvish Rukhsana and Clive Stafford Smith, which raised over $250,000 for rebuilding and restocking costs. Publishers and other companies also donated and shipped 150,000 books to the bookstore.
Prior to the airstrike, Samir Mansour Bookshop was known for housing the largest collection of English literature in Gaza, and serving as a community center for the Gaza community and Palestinian schoolchildren.
“In truth, my own minor role in all this came because my colleague, the Pashtun-American lawyer Mahvish Rukhsana, told me I should help,” Stafford Smith told The Bookseller. “She was right. We conducted a campaign so that Samir’s phoenix could rise from the ashes . . . Partly because I am half-Jewish myself, I look back fondly to the Israel of my youth when some of my American university friends emigrated to help build a more just and peaceful country. We are much further away from peace today than we were in 1970.”
You can follow along with Samir Mansour Bookshop’s reopening at their Instagram.