(Duma, Eastern Ghuta, Syria) Shaykh al-Warraqin, or the Papermaker, is a creative intellectual who printed a number of books in 2012 and gave them to the residents of Eastern Ghuta (Rif Dimashq Governorate), aiming at enriching the culture of the locals. His initiative became soon very popular, the shaykh even undertook personally all the printing costs and distributed books for free. He then started holding cultural meetings, where debates took a revolutionary turn most of the times. In these gatherings, readers exchanged and rated books that are considered useful to raise the people’s intellects.
Once the Syrian regime lost control of Duma on 02/11/2012, the Papermaker decided to work in the field of cultural education and established a cultural centre called The Revolutionary Cultural Centre of Eastern Ghuta. The shaykh became known as the Papermaker and supplied the centre with all types of books (history, religious, and political books) by all sorts of authors (including Abdur-Rahman Munif, Mahmud Darwish and many others). He even obtained certain banned books like “Suriya Mazraʿat al-Asad (Syria, al-Asad’s Farm)” by Abdullah al-Dahamashah.
This small project was an unexpected success, which encouraged bibliophiles in Eastern Ghuta to frequent the Centre, especially since they can choose any book they fancy and read it there for free.
Today, this unpretentious centre is still active in the city of Duma.