LWB Hosts Conference on Literature and the Arab Spring
On June 14, Libraries Without Borders France held a conference on literature and the Arab Spring in Paris. Entitled “To Read and to Write is to Be Already Free,” the conference featured a panel of three writers and activists, Radhia Nasraoui, Tahar Bekri, and Lucien X. Polastron.
The three panelists discussed the challenging question of what role literature plays during political transition. Other topics explored included the involvement of writers in revolutions, libraries as levers for the promotion of democracy and human rights, and democratic inclusiveness and censorship of information.
The conference was moderated by Omar Berrada, a Moroccan writer, critic, and translator, and drew a crowd of 200 to the gorgeous rooftop gallery of the Institute of the Arab World.
Nasraoui is a lawyer and human rights activist. During Ben Ali’s regime, Nasraoui spoke prominently against state-practiced torture and founded the Association Against Torture in Tunisia. Bekri is a Tunisian poet and lecturer at the University of Paris 10 Nanterre. Polastron is a French writer and historian. His many publications range topics as wide as library history, writing, and Chinese and Arab studies.
Libraries Without Borders President Patrick Weil and Director Jérémy Lachal spoke on LWB’s work reopening libraries in Tunisia that were damaged during the revolution. More than 50 libraries were burned during the revolution. LWB’s has so far reopened, restocked and trained librarians for four of these libraries.
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