Librarians and Archivists with Palestine took literary direct action to the New York subway system earlier this month, according to a statement released by the group on 2 August
The activists distributed bookmarks reading: “We are librarians and archivists who support Palestinian rights and oppose Israel’s bombing and siege of the Gaza Strip. We are here to share with you Palestinian literature in an effort to honor Palestinian life in the face of massacre.”
This was accompanied by performances of Palestinian-authored poetry, including Suheir Hammad’s ”What I Will,” which includes the lines:
“I will not/ dance to your war/ drum. I will/ not lend my soul nor/ my bones to your war/ drum. I will/ not dance to your/ beating. I know that beat./ It is lifeless…. I/ will not hate for you or/ even hate you. I will/ not kill for you./ Especially/ I will not die/ for you.”
According to Library and Archivists with Palestine’s statement on the action: “Reaction was mostly positive: some passengers applauded, some posed for pictures with the group, and others engaged in conversation. In all, LAP distributed almost 400 bookmarks.”
The organization has made the materials used for the action available on its website, including PDFs of the bookmark designs and poems.
As librarians, archivists, and information workers we believe it is our ethical obligation to speak out in the face of injustice. We call on our peers and colleagues to demand an end to Israel’s military attacks, as well as an end to the ongoing siege of Gaza… We deplore the violence currently being inflicted by the Israeli military on the Palestinian people and on critical infrastructure … We recognize that the current attacks on Gaza are part of an ongoing history of colonial violence and occupation inflicted by the state of Israel on Palestinians for over six decades”
The statement urges Library and Archivists with Palestine members and others to take action, including boycotting Israeli goods and institutions and contacting political representatives.