Martyr Nagihan Akarsel Reading House in Aleppo strengthens solidarity and socialisation

The memory of Nagihan Akarsel, who was murdered in Sulaymaniyah, is kept alive in a reading house in Aleppo. Open for 12 hours, the Martyr Nagihan Akarsel Reading House is used both as a place to read books and as a place for students to study.


Jineolojî (Women’s Science) researcher Nagihan Akarsel was murdered by the Turkish intelligence service outside her home in the southern Kurdish metropolis of Sulaymaniyah on 4 October 2022. One project that the Kurdish woman worked on for a long time was the Women's Research Centre in Sulaymaniyah, which was completed by her colleagues and opened in June 2023. Another institution where Nagihan Akarsel's work continues is the study centre named after her in Aleppo, Syria. The "Mala Xwendînê ya Şehîd Nagîhan Akarsel" in the Sheikh Maqsoud (Şêxmeqsûd) neighborhood was founded by the Jineolojî Centre in Aleppo one year after the murder and is open to the public twelve hours a day.

Opened on 24 October 2023, Martyr Nagihan Akarsel Reading House is the first of its kind in Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiyah, said Ferîde Musa, a member of the Jineoloj Aleppo Centre: "The reading house is open to people of all ages. So, there is no age limit. We have story books that will attract the attention of children, books that will support students in school life and books that will meet the needs of all segments of society. In addition to Arabic and Kurdish books, we also have rare English materials. The reading house serves as both a reading and concentration centre. Some students' homes are not suitable for concentration and reading. These students especially prefer our reading house."

Remarking that there are all kinds of books, Ferîde Musa continued: "In addition to story and novel books, we also have philosophy books on our shelves. We try to enrich the reading house according to the demands of the society. Groups of people who visit the reading house come together and discuss the determined books by reading them in the place. Thus, we reach a wealth of ideas. Self-confidence is also instilled in people. Socialisation and solidarity are also strengthened."

Stating that the Martyr Nagihan Akarsel Reading House prevented the weakening of the reading habits of the society, especially young people, Ferîde Musa said, "Especially young people were limited to school materials. They could not reach different perspectives. Children who were limited to school materials had a circle of friends limited to school life. In order for young people to have a broad perspective, a reading house full of rich books was needed.”

Musa continued: Although there is a culture of reading books today, digital preferences are generally coming to the fore. This method kills the feeling between books and people. Most young people are inclined to the internet and cannot benefit from the right sources. Therefore, we aim to collect books that protect the culture of the society in the reading house and create a healthy society. Families trust our reading house. They think that this is the right address for their children to grow up on the right foundations and to think with a calm and relaxed mind. They are happy that young people work and read together, consulting and helping each other."

Reiterating that the Martyr Nagihan Akarsel Reading House is open to everyone, Ferîde Musa said that they will enrich the books according to the demands of the society.