The Book Massacre of Mosul

How young Maslawis came together to salvage what was left from the bombing of the University of Mosul's library

Al-Ghad Radio

Ali Youssef Al-Baroodi

Walk over Debris (2017-05-18) by Ali Yousif AL-BaroodiAl-Ghad Radio

A tragic loss

The central library of the University of Mosul was burnt down by ISIS and later bombed during the battle to retake the city from them.   

It was established in 1967 to become one of the biggest libraries in Iraq. It contained hundreds of thousands of books, manuscripts, and rarities.   

Hand By Hand (2017-05-18) by Ali Yousif AL-BaroodiAl-Ghad Radio

Hand in hand, one book at a time

An online call from Mosul Eye to save the remaining books encouraged young people to gather in the library to retrieve the books from under the ashes.   

Load the Books (2018-05-18) by Ali Yousif AL-BaroodiAl-Ghad Radio

Over 50 students and graduates from Mosul University joined the campaign to save the books, which took over three months, saving over 30,000 books. 

Main Court (2017-05-18) by Ali Yousif AL-BaroodiAl-Ghad Radio

The remains of the library were skeletons of melted iron and scraps. Students had to carefully walk over debris to salvage what was left.

Load the Books (2018-05-18) by Ali Yousif AL-BaroodiAl-Ghad Radio

The campaign took place while the war was still raging in the western part of the city.   

Shelves and Holes (2017-05-18) by Ali Yousif AL-BaroodiAl-Ghad Radio

The missiles went through three layers of cement and destroyed much of what remained of the library.    

The library was hit with at least nine lethal missiles during the battle to retake the city from ISIS.

Save the Books (2017-05-18) by Ali Yousif AL-BaroodiAl-Ghad Radio

The library contained hundreds of rare books, including an 8th century Qur'an...

...which were destroyed in the fire and bombing.   

Ashes (2018-03-18) by Ali Yousif AL-BaroodiAl-Ghad Radio

Volunteers succeeded to save some rare materials which miraculously survived the carnage. But the ash of burnt books and buildings can still be smelled from a mile away.

Tones of Hope (2017-05-18) by Ali Yousif AL-BaroodiAl-Ghad Radio

Melodies of hope

This musician learned to play music under ISIS. The first thing he did after the liberation was to take his instrument out in public and play melodies of life, hope, and peace.  

He joined the campaign to play music over the debris and show the world that Maslawis are determined to live their own way of life.   

Let the Books come out the ashes (2017-05-25) by Ali Yousif AL-BaroodiAl-Ghad Radio

The Mosul Eye Festival

This event introduced the cause of the library to the world. The event included a photo exhibition and live music. Scores of people attended to send a message of peace to the world. 

Credits: Story

This work is brought to you by Al-Ghad Radio, in partnership with photographer Ali Yousif Al-Baroodi.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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