Monday, 5 March
(This day will be always remembered, as the day when books were
assassinated by the forces of darkness, hatred and fanaticism.)
The beginning of one entry from the Diary of Saad Eskander, Director
of the Iraq National Library and Archive, posted on the British
Library web site
"When the Saddam regime was toppled in 2003, the Iraq National Library
and Archive in Baghdad was set alight and looted. Much damage was
done, in particular to the library's archive collections. Dr Saad
Eskander, the Director of the Iraq National Library and Archive a
former British Library reader pass-holder has visited the British
Library on several occasions subsequently.
In 2005, with the damage to the library collections greater than had
first been thought, Dr Eskander requested some specific assistance
from us for rebuilding his collections. With monetary assistance from
the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, we were able to help by providing
microfilm copies of rare books and also microfiche copies of India
Office records relating to the administration of Iraq 1914-1921. .
Dr Eskander's journal, which appears with his kind permission, starts
in November 2006 and describes the perilous and tragic situation that
the Iraq National Library and Archive is operating under and which led
to the institution's temporary closure at the end of that month.
In early December, after consulting the heads of his departments, Dr
Eskander re-opened the National Library and Archive even though the
security situation remained as bad as before. "
For the Diary entries:-