9 June 2009
In partnership with Al-Aqsa University, the Free Gaza Movement (FG) is launching its “Right to Read” campaign which will use the FG fleet to deliver textbooks and other educational supplies to universities throughout the occupied Gaza Strip.
“This is not a charitable endeavor,” notes FG Chair Huwaida Arraf. “Rather it is an act of solidarity and resistance to Israel’s chokehold on Gaza and attempt to deny Palestinians education. Dr. Haidar Eid, a professor at Al-Aqsa University and coordinator in Gaza for the campaign adds, “Education is a right. Yet throughout history, societies have used access to education as a weapon of oppression. We refuse to let Israel blockade our students’ thirst for knowledge. We welcome working with Free Gaza and others to break this siege against our people’s greatest resource.”
According to UNWRA, Israel’s blockade restricts paper, ink, and other learning materials from entering into Gaza. As a result of Israel’s hermetic closure of and repeated military attacks on the Gaza Strip, an entire generation of students in Gaza is growing up stunted intellectually and academically; they are trying to learn in circumstances that no student should have to endure. More than one-third of Gaza’s children and university students started the school year missing necessary textbooks and vital school supplies.
Al Aqsa University serves nearly 14,000 students, both male and female. During the assault, it sustained nearly $1.4-million worth of damage including significant damage to its library. Fourteen students and one professor were killed during the assault. This effort allows individuals as well as institutions around the world to support Palestinians’ rights to education by donating new and used copies of textbooks to be delivered by the FG fleet.
The first “Right to Read” shipment will be sent on FG’s Summer of Hope July voyage to Gaza To learn more about the program and to send books, please visit the FG campaign web page at http://freegaza.org/right-to-read?lang=en.