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United Arab Emirates: Names of 6,000 people killed in Gaza displayed in heartbreaking tribute at SIBF – News


Visitors to the book fair get excited as they review the enormous list of people whose hopes, dreams and stories were crushed in the war.

Photos by M. Sajjad

Published: Thursday, November 2, 2023, 10:50 am

Last update: Thursday, November 2, 2023, 10:54

On a huge black poster posted on a wall at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), thousands of names were clearly listed in white. They were not famous or chosen at random: they were people whose stories ended in an instant, one airstrike after another.

Noble unfinished stories, The exhibition was a heartbreaking tribute by local publisher Uhibbook Publishing. It was a stark reminder of the true cost of war.

“Right now it seems like we lead a divided life,” said the publisher’s founder, Sadia Anwar. “On the one hand, we all continue with our daily lives, while, on the other, we witness the disappearance of entire sectors of a population.”

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According to the founders of the publishing house, the task took them almost a week.

“We first downloaded the list released by the authorities,” said co-founder Mehnaz Anshah. “Then we transliterated them into English, which was quite a task because some names were Arabic and it was difficult to find an exact translation. And sometimes, there were titles in front of the names, so again we needed to go name by name.”

On October 7, Hamas launched an attack on Israel, killing 1,400 people. Since then, Israel’s retaliatory bombings against Gaza have killed more than 8,000 people and displaced more than a million people. The names were taken from a list of 6,747 documented deaths published by the Gaza Health Ministry in late October.

‘These were real people with dreams’

Putting the roster together was a challenge, but the hardest part of it all was the mental toll it took on the team.

“There are some cases where 88 people from the same family were killed,” Sadia said.

“Their ages ranged from babies to 72 years old. They were real people with dreams, hopes and talents who hoped to contribute to the world. Not only are they being killed, but their homes are razed and all their belongings destroyed. “It’s like any evidence that they ever existed is being erased.”

The editors said the least they could do was remember them.

“As a publisher, we focus on the premise that everyone has a story to tell,” says Mehnaz. “So the only thing we can do is make sure these names are not forgotten. They all had stories. Stories that they never completed because they had the bad luck to be caught in a war.”

The installation has received a good reception from visitors to the book fair.

“Some people are really touched,” said Charitie Aguma, a woman who volunteers at the booth. “Yesterday, an Egyptian editor spent a lot of time reading the names. After leaving, he returned with a friend to see him again. “You could see they were getting very excited.”

Spreading positivity

The SIBF kicked off on Wednesday with publishers from more than 108 countries bringing together more than 1.5 million titles under one roof. From rare items and the latest books to information panels and interesting workshops, the book fair has a lot to offer.

Uhibbook has also created a “Wishing Wall” at its stall where visitors are invited to take a wish from the envelopes and leave their own wish for someone else to read and save.

“We know the world is going through a lot of pain and pain,” Sadia said. “We just wanted to spread a message of positivity.”


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