Read for Refaat

Global Day of Action

On January 15, 2024, forty days after Palestinian poet, editor, and educator Refaat Alareer was killed under Israeli bombardment, Publishers for Palestine is calling for a Global Day of Action, followed by a week of events, in which we read Refaat’s poetry in public and refuse business as usual, demanding an end to the genocide and the occupation.

At the end of November and early December, Publishers for Palestine called on readers around the world to read Palestinian writers and about Palestine during Read Palestine Week. Now, we are asking you to #ReadPalestine again–but this time out loud and in public. We’re asking you to make reading an act of protest.

On Monday, January 15, 2024 forty days after Refaat Alareer’s death, honour his life, work, and resistance and that of other Palestinian writers silenced and killed by Israel, by reciting one of Refaat’s poems in public. Read in your workplace, at your school, in the mall, on the bus, or out on the street. Read with a group or as a demo. Disrupt business as usual. Record and share your reading on social media. Amplify Palestinian voices as we work to end the genocide, end the occupation, and free Palestine.

Who was Refaat Alareer?

Refaat Alareer (1979-2023) was a Palestinian poet, professor, and organizer who was killed in an Israeli bombing on December 6, 2023. His poem “If I Must Die” has been translated into dozens of languages and read around the world to commemorate his life and memory and as an act of outrage and resistance against the attempt to extinguish Palestinian life. His poetry and love for language implores us to continue the fight for a free Palestine.

Week of Events: January 15-21, 2024

Several publishers, bookstores, and literary organizations are already organizing poetry readings, author talks, and other events, in person and online the week of Jan 15-21 to honor Refaat and other Palestinian writers and refuse to be silenced. More information about these events will be shared on social media and on the P4P website. If you’re organizing an event this week, please let us know. You can tag and follow us on Instagram and X.

The theme for these events will focus on resistance and refusing to be silent: refusing the silencing of Palestinian voices through the Israeli occupation and genocide, and refusing the silencing of those who speak out against the genocide and occupation through censorship and other means. #LetItBeATale

To support this action:

We have gathered the poem “If I Must Die” in English and as many other languages as we can. Please download, print, and share these. If you’re a bookseller, provide free copies wherever you’re selling books and magazines. We are assembling the translations at

If you’re a publisher, ask your authors and readers to join in, reading one of Refaat’s poems in public on Monday, January 15, 2024 and sharing on their social media accounts.

Organize your own actions for January 15, 2024 and events for the week of January 15-21, 2024. Let us know about them so we can share and amplify.

Share on your social media accounts using: #ReadForRefaat, #ReadPalestine, #ReadAndResist, #LetItBeATale, #RefaatAlareer

If you’re a musician, sing the poem. For inspiration, here is a version in French by HK. If you’re an artist, make art for the poem. Bring it into your creative practice.

Also, agitate and advocate:

Be in the streets: attend demonstrations, rallies, and other Palestinian solidarity events.

Write to and call your representatives in government to tell them that you demand they place pressures on Israel to end the killing, end the occupation, and allow the Palestinian people their rights and freedoms. Let them know that you need action and policy changes, not just words. If your government is a signatory to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, demand that they fulfill their commitment and support South Africa’s efforts at the ICJ.

Amplify Palestinians, and Palestinians in Gaza especially, through online platforms, and engage as much as possible with their content in order to boost visibility.

And remember other poets in Gaza who have been killed under Israeli bombardment:

Also read and share work by other Palestinian writers and poets who have been killed under bombardment include Hiba Abu Nada (read her poems in English translation: “I Grant You Refuge” and “Not Just Passing,” translated by Huda Fakhreddine, and translations from her Twitter feed into multiple languages on Gaza Passages); Salim al-Naffar (read his “Drawing Class” in English translation), as well as poets Omar Faris Abu Shaweesh, Shahdah Al-Buhbahan, Nour al-Din Hajjaj, Ahmed Mortaja, Husam Maarouf, Mahmoud Jouda, and Nour Swirki, among others. You can find translations of some of their thoughts at Gaza Passages.

For more info and downloadable posters, visit Publishers for Palestine.