Mosul (IraqiNews.com) A group of youths are bringing life back to Mosul University’s central library with a book fair, making up for a serious destruction under Islamic State rule.
Once a home to nearly one million books, the three-storey building’s interior had been reduced to ashes by the time Iraqi forces recaptured the campus in mid October. Islamic State militants had burned all the contents bar nearly 30 books, according to Alghad Press.
At the gate of the wrecked facility, young volunteers erected stands for 14.000 books late Wednesday. The books were collected from donors over 40 days, according to the website.
“Mosul Reads”, read the slogan of the event which organizers said seeks to assert on the city’s identity as “a place of culture rather than violence,” the Alghad Press reports.
Saleh Elias, the event’s top organizer, told the website that the books were of diverse political, historical and literary genres. “A part of the books were kept inside the university’s library, while the remaining ones were given out to the visitors”, said Elias.
“Our mission is to spread peace and culture, and to reverse the image of Islamic State-held Mosul, one of violence and destruction,” he added.
“Tens of youths rolled up their sleeves to collect the books and organize the festival,” said Sattar Mohsen, director at Dar Stoor, a prominent Baghdad-based bookstore and publishing house. “The festival was a message to everybody, saying that Mosul is an immortal city that can rebuild its history,” said Mohsen.
“Everyday, Mosul amazes us with the way it comes back to life quickly. If efforts are escalated further, eastern Mosul could turn into a portray unseen in 14 years,” said Udai Ameed, one of the festival’s visitors.
“Everyday I came here, I used to weep for what had happened,” said Yomna Ebeid, a student who had partaken in volunteer efforts to clean the library after its retrieval. “Now, everything is changed, and I am confident it can return better than ever”.
The event also included shows by famous Mosul musical bands as well as handcrafts and plastic arts sections.