The Path to Knowledge

By: Juaman Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Fri 13 May / May 2016. 12:00 AM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

On her Facebook profile, CEO of the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation, Valentina Qussisiya, wrote about her experience bringing back the Foundation’s Children’s Library. Especially with the baby steps, two and a half years ago, having been met with so much resistance by many, and countless obstacles to its realisation.

Arguments against the idea varied. They ranged from “children will tear the books” to “tearing down the library, its furniture, and contents”. Others thought that children will not come to read; we are —after all— a people that does not read!

There are those, on the other hand, who sought to abort the project early on through confirming, with or without conviction, that the library will be turned into a sanctuary for parents who want to dispose of the weight of their children for hours without checking on them; as reading is no longer considered by children, or parents for that matter, according to proponents of this argument, as a source for education and culture.

Today, and against all pessimistic odds and assumptions, the Library is starting to pay off the love for knowledge instilled in many of our youth and children. In a simple census, provided by Qussisiya; 17,500 books have been lent out over the past 4 months. Moreover, the Library has a membership database of around 5,700 kids, and is visited by about 2,000 every month, with many parents joining in on reading times with their children.

“The Path to Knowledge” is the brand name given to the Children’s Library, and it hold great magnitude; for there is no knowledge or culture without reading. And goodness, do we need this kind of initiative that enriches the worlds of children and arms them with the science and knowledge they need to pull through a kind of life that pushes those unarmed with education over the edge and forfeits them of the chance to endure the coarse discourses of life.

More so, as we face the darkness lurking of extremism, knowledge lays the primal basis for the intellectual battle; that we may fortify the upcoming generations against darkness. Without knowledge, our youth and children could easily fall prey for the clutches of terrorists, exploiting the vacancy in the minds of the youth, as well as the older some, to fill it up with the falsities of their extremism.

And because the battle is an intellectual, cultural one, the guarantee of triumph requires a many intellectual forum, through the many initiative, that formulate the stronghold to protect the generations from extremism, so that it may, at the same time, bridge them with the endless horizons across the vastness of the world we share together, as humans.

With reading as the only path to know the other, their culture, and respect it, it becomes evident that the existence of “paths” to knowledge, like the one incubated by the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation, is important to the provision of the best weapon in our battle against ignorance, underdevelopment, and extremism. A simple look at our current devices and instruments suffices to realise they will not enable our sustenance, let alone our triumph! Especially with our school curriculums being so disruptive of reason and logic, and our libraries closed.

We need a “Path to Knowledge” in every city, province, and town; in every neighbourhood even. Reading is no longer a luxury exclusive to the intellectual and thinkers, but is now a national necessity, and is foremost of all; a human right. The children of Jordan have a right to have libraries that enrich their minds and experiences.

And while we know that the capacities of our government are very limited, every societal initiative, big or small, individual, civil society, or corporate, will surely contribute to the enablement of a generation that can steadfast forward into the future, to build and safeguard our Country.

Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation’s “Path to Knowledge” would have us sing along with Fairouz, “Eih fi Amal”; meaning: Alas, there is still hope!