It is said, to make someone slave of your propaganda, make them handicap of their mind. This is the very idea on which ISIS had made their empire on. When ISIS took hold of Iraq, the first thing they target was on the very foundation of the basic knowledge of hundreds of thousands of people i.e the library and the university making them easy to disseminate their agenda and make people their slave. Same happens when ISIS took hold to Mosul and declared its Caliphate in 2014. The University of Mosul, which was founded in 1967, was quickly targeted and brought down to ashes. The library contained 2, 00,000 volumes of books, most of which destroyed by when ISIS burned down the structure.
The library was used as a gathering spot, rounding up the university’s professor and forcing them to rewrite textbooks for a new educations system under the caliphate. And as now the Iraq’s Prime Minister has declared the end of the caliphate, anonymous blogger Mosul Eye is continuing his crusade to rebuild the library’s collection.
The blogger, who hides his identity for the sake of his life and his family, had fled Mosul in 2016 but has continued to chronicle life in the city under ISIS. “Whenever I was in the university, I would spend most of my time at the library,” he said. “When I didn’t like my professors’ lectures, I often went to the library to do research and study books on my own.”
In a step to rebuild the library, he is calling on the international community to donate books in all languages. “Because rebuilding the libraries and filling them back with books is one of the most significant forms of rebuilding Mosul civilly, we launch this international campaign to collect books and all types of printed products (magazines, periodicals, newspapers, references, archives, and the like) in all disciplines of Knowledge and Science,” he explains on his website.
And the request does seem to take its route; the books began pouring in, both from Iraq and abroad. These added to the 2,000 volumes that survived the library’s destruction, some of which are rare books and manuscripts. In Baghdad, an event was held, asking citizens to purchase books from a street market, which were then donated to the library. The books also made its way from Australia, the US and countries across Europe.
Though some of the precious materials in the library can never be recovered, Mosul Eye reminds us that rebuilding the space is an important step in Mosul’s future. “We need to reconnect Mosul again with the rest of the world,” he shared. “We will need the world to take the same amount of interest it has after ISIS took over the city. Don’t abandon us now.”
When the portion of the city where the library is located was liberated in January 2017, volunteers entered the burned library to see if they could recover any of the collection.
The university library held 200,000 volumes prior to its destruction at the hands of ISIS.
They were able to recover about 2,000 books, including hundreds of rare books and manuscripts.
The original collection contained important materials, including historic maps and periodicals from the Ottoman era, and ancient Islamic manuscripts, including a ninth-century Qur’an.
Anonymous blogger Mosul Eye has helped launch a campaign to rebuild the library. Donations have poured in from Baghdad and abroad, including the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
Especially needed are texts, in any language, about medicine, science, and the humanities.
Volunteers work tirelessly to sort and catalogue the 10,000 books that have been received for the new library. They are hoping to arrive at 200,000 donations in time for the reopening at the beginning of 2018
In May 2017, Mosul Eye organised a cultural festival in front of the library, where participants were asked to bring a book as their entry fee. Several hundred books were collected in one day. “We don’t know each other, but all of us came together because we believe in Mosul.”
Interested in helping? Visit here: