Via the HUP publicity blog, a story from the New York Times about Saad Eskander, the director of Iraq’s National Library and Archive in Baghdad, who has kept a diary (hosted at the website of the British Museum Library -- thanks Catriona!) of his efforts to keep the library open amid the increasing violence:

I received bad news, as soon as I arrived to my office. In my absent, INLA was bombed twice and snipers' bullets broke several windows. Fortunately, no body was hurt. My staff withheld these information from me, when I contacted them. They claimed that they did not want me to be worried and to spoil my visit.

I spent the rest of the week trying to advise a number of my employees what to do, as they got death threats. The Sunnis, who lived in Shi'i dominated districtwere given an ultimatum to abandon their homes and the Shi'is, who lived in a Sunni dominated district, had to leave their homes. So far, two of my employees were murdered, the first worked in the Computer Department, and the second was a guard. Three of our drivers, who worked with us by contract, were murdered and three others were injured.

Readers Comments

  1. Dear Mark

    Just to let you know that it is the British Library that is hosting Dr Eskander's diary. We are currently working with other libraries and publishers to arrange another consignment of books to help them replace their missing and damaged texts.

    We have had a phenomenal response to the diaries and sent messages of support from all over the world to Dr Eskander and his incredible team.

    The next installment will be posted shortly.

    Kind regards

  2. Dear Mark

    We have now posted Dr Eskander's journal entries for 1-14 February on the British Library website. His entry for 8 February is particularly disturbing and a dreadful reminder to us of the dangers that our professional colleagues in Baghdad are facing every day as they try to do their jobs.

    Best wishes
    Andy Stephens
    BL Board Secretary

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