On 25 November, Lebanese Arab writer and revolutionary intellectual, Samah Idriss, passed away in Beirut. Since that moment, many people in Palestine, throughout the Arab world and internationally have recalled his life of commitment and struggle. His quote from his final speech, to the Masar Badil (Alternative Palestinian Path) conference in Beirut: “If we abandon Palestine, we abandon ourselves,” reflects his approach well.
Since the founding of the Palestinian Chess Forum in the Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon, Samah maintained a continuous, ongoing relationship of support with the center and the children and youth that attend its programs. He always visited the center, reading short stories and poetry and interviewing them about various issues affecting their lives and development.
It was only natural that his passing greatly affected the children, and they were at the forefront of the procession that took him to his final resting place.
Today, we are remembering Samah Idriss by continuing our fundraising campaign to support the Palestinian Chess Forum in Shatila refugee camp. Thank you to all of you who have already generously supported this campaign. Your donations help to keep this important work going — and growing, especially as the Forum has just launched a new series of activities in honor of Samah, inaugurated today by his daughter Naye.
The Forum, as a youth club and cultural center, plays an important cultural, political and social role in the lives of Palestinian children in Shatila camp. It promotes Palestinian identity, develops personal and leadership skills and promotes concepts of collective efforts through:
- Weekly reading sessions
- Daily academic support for students
- Poetry evenings
- Seminars on Palestinian, Arab and international issues
- Weekly movie screenings
- Recreational and sports activities
- Chess Forum dabkeh group
- Workshops and seminars
The Palestinian Chess Forum helps to raise a new Palestinian generation with firm values and commitments, understanding the reasons why they are growing up outside their homeland, Palestine and learning about the history and struggle of the Palestinian people, adhering firmly to the right to return to Palestine and imagining the future possibilities for a liberated Palestine.
Hear from Eliana Yousef, the elected president of the Chess Forum management board, talking about her experiences and what she’s learned:
Help Eliana and her fellow youth continue on the road, not only to active engagement with chess, reading, literature and cultural development, but in building the future road to return to Palestine.