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Sunday, November 24, 2019

Rising from Ashes | Archive - Voice of America

This story was edited by Mary Motta, with video production by Mehdi Jedinia and Nawid Orokzai. It was designed by Brian Williamson.

A Woman’s Campaign to Rescue Mosul’s Books.

Tahany Saleh reads through a book rescued from the rubble of Mosul University’s Central Library in Mosul, Iraq.
Photo: courtesy of Ali al-Baroodi, May 2017
Iraqis often present themselves as the pride of literature in the Arab world. 

The traditional Arabic saying, “Egypt writes, Lebanon publishes, Iraq reads,” resonates through the efforts of Tahany Saleh, a young Iraqi woman who let her passion for books lead her to rebuild a library in Mosul, book by book, after Islamic State’s rule over the city was ended.

Saleh, now 28, was in her first year of graduate studies in economics when the Islamic State (IS) attacked Mosul on June 4, 2014. Helping her home heal from IS rule and restoring the city’s literary culture has driven her ever since...

Rising from Ashes: A Woman’s Campaign to Rescue Mosul’s Books

A vibrant history
The Central Library was established in 1921 and housed an estimated 1 million books on topics such as science, literature, philosophy, law and culture, in addition to historical maps, Ottoman-era manuscripts and Iraqi newspapers.

Mohammed Jasim al-Hamdany, who directed the library during IS control, said the library started flourishing in 1967 when 60 of the city’s largest private libraries donated their historic collections. It soon became Mosul’s research center with an average of 1,500 daily visits by students...

National efforts also made a difference. In Baghdad, residents started buying books at street markets and donating them to replenish the university library.

Nearly 60,000 books and journals have so far been donated to restore the library and more are expected to arrive, library director al-Hamdany said.
Today, the structure of the building is intact, but giant holes caused by missiles, layers of dust and shattered windows remain. Al-Hamdany said the government has set aside funds for the building, but government reconstruction efforts have stalled. Until the library is fully repaired, the rescued and donated books can be found on shelves set up at Mosul University’s Education College.

Source: Voice of America and VOA Extremism Channel (YouTube)