According to the Lebanon Daily Star when ISIS invaded the Central Library of Mosul earlier this month, they were on a mission to destroy a familiar enemy: other people’s ideas. Residents say the extremists smashed the locks that had protected the biggest repository of learning in the northern Iraq town, and loaded around 2,000 books – including children’s stories, poetry, philosophy and tomes on sports, health, culture and science – into six pickup trucks. They left only Islamic texts.
The rest? “These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah. So they will be burned,” a bearded militant in traditional Afghani two-piece clothing told residents, according to one man living nearby who spoke to the AP. The man, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared retaliation, said the ISIS official made his impromptu address as others stuffed books into empty flour bags. To read more, click here.
As a librarian the destruction of books for the ideas they contain, disturbs me. As a museum manager, I am horrified at the destruction of a countries history – so much of who we are as people is based on what we know of ourselves from the past. As people in the area try to rebuild their lives, whatever happens with ISIS, the loss of historical documents will be a bitter blow. I just hope their museums are safe, and remain that way, as important storehouses of the nation’s identity.