Two great stories about saving books and libraries from war

In the days and weeks after the initial US invasion of Iraq in April of 2003, the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad and archaeological sites across the country were ransacked. There were no US troops to be found protecting that global cultural heritage, contained within the buildings left to the chaos of “shock and awe.” A failure of planning and imperial hubris were partly to blame—there was no lack of troops guarding the Ministry of Oil.

“Stuff happens,” was then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s response to the looting, “Freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things,” Rumsfeld said. “They’re also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that’s what’s going to happen here.”

Historian Lawrence Rothfield designated these actions as The Rape of Mesopotamia. President Bush’s mouthpiece had this to say,

Two stories, one oriented toward children and the other anthologized as one of six stories in Amazon’s Original Stories, “Black Stars series,” have as themes the burning, looting, and protecting of libraries and books during a war.

The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter. [Amazon]

The Black Pages by Nnedi Okorafor [Amazon]

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