Iraq National Library razed by fire

¦¦ The sickening, unfortunate news from Iraq continues unabated. In addition to 170,000 artifacts in the National Museum having been looted or destroyed, the Iraq National Library was in flames as well on April 13. The building was so thoroughly torched that heat still radiated 50 paces from the front door. From the April 13 NYTimes:

By tonight, virtually nothing was left of the library and its tens of thousands of old manuscripts and books, and of archives like Iraqi newspapers tracing the country’s turbulent history from the era of Ottoman rule through to Mr. Hussein. Reading rooms and the stacks where the collections were stored were reduced to smoking vistas of blackened rubble

The US Administration has finally acknowledged the seriousness of the destruction and looting, and has pledged to recover and repair antiquities. One wonders if this will happen.

The destruction of libraries continued with the Islamic Library of Qur’ans set ablaze. Here is an account from the Arab News. I hope all librarians around the world will gather together to help Iraq rebuild its history.

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