Monday, August 31, 2015

The Syrians defying napalm bombs and sniper fire to build a library by Mairead Dixon



Risking death to build a library
30 August 2015

A Syrian reading in the library rescued from burning houses

The Syrians defying napalm bombs and sniper fire to build a library

Syrians in the rebel-held town of Darayya have lived under siege from Assad's forces for three years. But some students are trying to create a place of peace among the rubble

BY MAIREAD DIXON

Syrians in the rebel-held town of Darayya have faced sniper fire, napalm bombing and indiscriminate killing at the hands of the Assad regime.

But among the destruction, one group of young men managed to create a place of sanctuary - a library.

After residents of the besieged town fled, the students rescued books from their abandoned private libraries. In some cases, the buildings were still burning. So far they’ve collected more than 11,000 books. 

One of the volunteers, Abu Al-Ezz, 23, told Humans of Syria: “One day we came up with the idea to collect all the books scattered throughout the city under the rubble of demolished homes.

“It’s been a daunting and dangerous task.

“We’ve spent long days cataloguing the books, so if the owners return after the war they can have them back.” [ ... ]

The volunteers take turns to work as librarians and have created a check out system to keep track of borrowed books. They also wrote the original owner’s name inside each book, in the hope of restoring them to them after the war.

The library contains 11,000 books including Arabic and foreign novels, religious and academic books.

Abu Malek Alshamy said: “We created an atmosphere inside the library of silence and light, with tables for the readers.

“In such a place, the most beautiful thing is getting away from the war and battles.” [ ... ]

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