In the last week on one of the Association of Christian Librarians member forums a post was made calling attention to the travesty taking place in Iraq and other Middle eastern countries as ISIS (the miliant Islamic group) marches through attempting to take control and establish its own state.
The travesty involves its determined goal to wipe out the culture and heritage of that country, including its ancient Christian heritage, by stealing and selling or destroying its libraries, archives, artifacts, and archaeological sites. Many of these are from ancient Biblical times, such as the Mesopotamia region and ancient cities such as Nineveh and Ashur.
You will find this detailed report from the Iraq Heritage Senior Fellow and archaeologist himself, dated September 8, 2014, and titled “Iraq’s Heritage Is Facing a New Wave of Destruction”. And this report from the American Historical Association is also informative.
On the ACL forum these bullets were given summarizing some basic facts (with brief commentary).
The ISIS activities that are related to libraries and other information services can be summarised as follows [with my explanatory commentary in brackets]:
– According to ISIS law, libraries should not exist and must be demolished.
– ISIS wants to diversify and expand its financial resources to include the lucrative trade of antiquities. [This could be assumed to include the sale of rare books and manuscripts.]
– Mosul museum, the second large museum in Iraq, has been occupied by ISIS and its staff cannot enter to check its valuable collections. [The Museum Library was established about 50 years ago, and has a substantial collection.]
– Churches and monasteries were either burned or, when occupied, ISIS stole the contents. [Many of the monasteries in northern Iraq are known to have retained collections of ancient manuscripts]
– Mosques and shrines were destroyed by explosions and bulldozers. [These may also have had collections of ancient manuscripts]
– Government buildings have been destroyed by ISIS. [It is not clear whether these include the provincial records and archives centre, but it could be assumed that some recent government records have been lost.]
– ISIS has taken over public libraries in Ninawa and Diyala provinces. [These must be assumed to be under threat of destruction.]
Professor Ian Johnson,
Chief Editor, IFLA/De Gruyter series: ‘Global Studies in Libraries and Information’
This is certainly something to be aware of and of which to stay informed. Of course, with this has been joined the open persecution of Iraq’s Christian population, many of whom have fled. Watch the news for reports of this evil and destructive activity.