When asked about whether or not he sees Arabs as a threat, Moshe Dayan, an Israeli military leader, said no by simply stating: ‘Arabs don’t read’. Reading frees the mind and opens a possibility for free thinking. In many parts of this region, many are ‘anti-thinking’, simply because thinking leads to change. The past isn’t reversible, but the future can be saved.
The first word in the Holy Quran is ‘Read’, and ironically, Arabs don’t read. I’m never one to stereotype, but we’re talking facts here. We glorify our ‘Arabic history’ when we know minimal amount of information about it. What we know about our history is limited to what we studied in high school or even university.
Another quote I passed by was, ‘Women shouldn’t read books. Then they start thinking and getting ideas.’ I laughed because I understood the truth behind this quote. I’m not talking about the ‘women shouldn’t read’ part, but rather, the ‘thinking’ part. When you read a book, regardless of the genre, you get to see life through a different perspective. You start seeing things through the eyes of the author. When we read, we start analyzing the past. When we analyze the past, we just might have a chance to change the future.
Ray Bradburry once stated that to kill a region’s culture they don’t need to burn its books, they simply need to get the people to stop reading them. As a region, we are all trained to think in the same direction. We are all guided through the same paths. ‘Thinking’ gets in the way of this path. Schools nowadays produce students that all fall under the same category. Educational systems prepare students for university and, little do they know, they’re killing the very essence of individuality. As a region, we’ve been told what to think, not how to think. Encouraging reading is the only way to save a generation that’s lost between conformity and mediocrity.
We don’t need more lawyers and doctors, we need more free thinkers; people who think for themselves. We don’t need more A+ scores, we need more opinions. We don’t need people in positions, we need change. We don’t need to conform, we need to read.