The Human Library is a place for everyone, it is a home for every person. That is how Syrian Refugee Ehssan Ruzallah Chameiy experiences it.
“Being homeless doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have a house. Sometimes you feel homeless, because you can’t find people who accept you or how you feel. In The Human Library you can always be sure that you are accepted and you have a place,” he says.
He is 29 years old, born in Damascus in Syria, and has been part of the Human Library in Wroclaw, Poland since May 2018. His topic is Syrian Refugee and he has been published more than 10 times.
Readers think I am muslim
Do you eat pork? Do you drink alcohol? Do you like Polish food? Are Polish people racist? Why are you not in Germany or Sweden? Are you happy here? Do you feel safe?
These are among the most common questions that Ehssan Ruzallah Chameiy is asked, when he is out on loans out as a book in The Human Library.
“When it comes to my readers, negative stereotypes are not that common, but most of them assume that I am Muslim, when we start our talk. When I tell them that I am a Christian Syrian, they are shocked. They even ask, if there are Christians in Syria?,” Ehssan Ruzallah Chameiy says.
The readers sometimes assume that Syrian ladies cover their hair, and they have asked him if his mother or sister covers their hair.
Book by accident
Ehssan became a book ‘by accident’. A friend of his is a Human Library Book, and he talked to the depot manager in Wroclaw and informed her about Ehssan. And that is how he came to be published.
“However, the real motivation is that the project is interesting. No matter where you are, or how you think, you can find your own spot in Human Library. It is a place, where colour, skin or belief no longer matters, it is a home for everyone,” he says.
For him personally, it is also a way to show that not all immigrants are bad or are here for bad purposes.
“The Human Library is a powerful way to illustrate that we can always find common ground and the interests we share, no matter where we come from,” he says.
“I love being a book, and it is like a home for me. I miss it when there are no events for a little while. I enjoy talking to people, listening to their questions, which can be funny and at times also sad. I love their reactions, and I love that sometimes we get so involved and caught up in the reading, that we lose our sense of time.
You are welcome here
A while ago, Ehssan had two Polish readers, a husband and wife, and at the end of the session, when the time was up, they both looked at him, smiled and said: “You are welcome in Poland, we want you here.”
“You know, moments like this, give me strength to continue to contribute to the Human Library,” Ehssan says.
In his perspective, The Human Library is a place to learn, to exchange cultures and to meet different people. He came from kind of a conservative society, and there are many topics which are considered sensitive there, like being gay or lesbian. Based on that he formed his opinion about them.
“But when I met and talked to them, I realized that there is no wrong in being this way. In fact, I have a lot of good friends in our local book depot in Wroclaw, and we have become e a small family. You feel the environment is so light, and each and every person is his/her self,” he says.
In fact, The Human Library is a place for everyone, it is a home for every person, an embassy for mankind.
For the opportunity to borrow Ehssan follow the work of the Human Library Wroclaw here: