Reading serum!


By Hussein Shobokshi

I DON’T remember exactly when was the first time I heard the phrase "think outside the box" or how many times I heard it on different occasions, but it is today a part of our usual terminology. A follower of world news through various media outlets, must notice the severity of the language and the existing division, and the constant resort to promoting "false news", a term that was coined and used liberally by US President Donald Trump himself.

Another equally dangerous term is “alternative facts,” which was invented by Kellyanne Conway, adviser to President Trump.

Reading the headlines and news, and following repercussions of "democracy" in the most important democratic countries affects her successively. She is more bothered by the repercussions of Britain's exit from European Union (Brexit), the bid to impeach President Trump and his reelection campaign and rights implications of the controversial law in India, the world's largest democracy. There, I retrieved pages of influential books that I have read and those which have left huge impressions on me. They include James Baldwin's book on racial discrimination and injustice, speeches of Gandhi and Nehru on justice and social equality, Martin Luther King's inspiring speeches on rights and hope, Victor Klimpour's memoirs of the German era under Nazi rule and the writings of Hamilton, Jefferson, and Adams on law and constitution.

Well-known Israeli writer Michael McGuire, the author of "The Books That Saved My Life," he says: “Reading is an essential part of investing in oneself, just like exercising, organizing relationships, and financial planning”. Reading is the pillar that prevents news pollution. There is a big difference between those who follow the news for "gossip" purposes and those who follow it for purely cognitive reasons and purposes. Reading is the sea of ​​knowledge available. The number of books in the Arab World — despite all the warnings that speak of the decline and the inevitable extinction — are still reassuring. The spread continues with a focus on mainly fiction as well as international works translated into Arabic.

Books remain the truest way to communicate knowledge, break down barriers, and remove fears and concerns among peoples and cultures. A friend once asked me: “Do you know how to fight and resist the negativity in the news every day?” Even before I could say something, he said: It was to increase the reading dose and the number of books on my library shelves. I liked the response. In times when the truth diminished, educate and fortify yourself with the serum of reading.