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Qureshi, Farzana (2009) An assessment of the destruction and rehabilitation of libraries during a period of armed conflict: a case study of Iraq's libraries 2003-. Masters dissertation. University of Wales.

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As part of cultural genocide, the destruction of books and libraries has prevailed for many centuries. The written word can be described as an extension of our imagination, which supports the notion that a book is something far greater than just a physical object. Books are connected to the memory of society, its people and their identity. It can be argued that if we fail to remember what we are, then we don’t really know who we are. Recorded history has suggested that the literal murder of books has been spurred on through political and religious wars, with an ulterior motive to completely eradicate a particular society. This dissertation conducts a case study of Iraq and the ways in which professional library and information bodies collaborated, to respond to libraries damaged during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. After the US/UK led invasion in 2003 the destruction of libraries took place through bombings and planned arsonist attacks. This inevitably forced certain groups of people to be slowly wiped out forever. The study investigates the damage to the library collections and how this contributed to the genocide of Iraq’s rich cultural heritage. With these thoughts in mind, Iraq had to face the prospect of rebuilding its libraries and collections in most cases, from scratch. Both the destruction and rehabilitation stage of the project, are examined in detail. These findings can be used as a benchmark for future periods of library annihilation. The study merges together subjects that include memory, the destruction of libraries and their relation to identity and the power of the written word.

Item Type: Theses (Masters)
Keywords: Libraries, Destruction, Rebuilding, Nationalism, Identity, Rehabilitation, Preservation, Iraq, Armed Conflict
SOAS Departments & Centres: Administration and Professional Services > Library and Information Services
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2009 15:22

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