Syrian Refugee Creates International Library in Berlin

Syrian Refugee Creates International Library in Berlin

Book Culture

In a Berlin loft, a team of international academics, writers, and publishers have come together to create a sanctuary for Arabic culture in Germany. Muhannad Qaiconie, the mastermind behind the unconventional library, is a displaced Syrian student studying English literature who found solace in Germany after years in Lebanon and Turkey.   Muhannad had to abandon his own library in 2013 when he fled his home in Aleppo. “I didn’t have a single book in my hand at that time,” he says. “But studying was always in my mind, because I missed it so much. In Syria, I bought the books …

British Woman Interrogated at Airport for Reading Syrian Art Book

British Woman Interrogated at Airport for Reading Syrian Art Book

Book Culture

Thomson Airways cabin crew reported Faizah Shaheen to authorities in 2016 on her way to her honeymoon in Turkey for reading ‘Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline,’ a book that compiles poetry, stories, photography, and cartoons from Syria.   Image courtesy of Amazon   Two weeks later, Shaheen returned to the UK where she was promptly stopped by police and interrogated. The police asked about the book, Shaheen’s job, and how many languages she spoke. Regarding the interrogation, Shaheen said, “I felt upset and distressed, followed by anger. I struggled to accept that I was being singled out for reading a book on art …