People, Travel

UNESCO Condemns Iraq Book Burning

UNESCO Condemns Iraq Book BurningUNESCO Condemns Iraq Book Burning

In a press statement issued last week, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova denounced the reported burning of thousands of books located in museums, libraries and universities across Mosul in northern Iraq.

Referring to reports that thousands of books have been torched in recent weeks, Bokova said it was part of a campaign of “cultural cleansing,” reports AFP. “If confirmed, this would be one of the most devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history,” UNESCO said.

The targeted books reportedly dealt with an array of topics, including philosophy, law, science and poetry.

She, who said the burnings were similar to recent acts carried by Islamist extremists in Mali, described the Mosul incident as “an attack on the culture, knowledge and memory”, emphasizing that this crime only “adds to the systematic destruction of heritage and the persecution of minorities that seeks to wipe out the cultural diversity that is the soul of the Iraqi people.”

Moreover, Bokova stressed the need for governments to cooperate and cripple such fanaticism, saying, “UNESCO was created 70 years ago to combat this type of violence, through education, science and culture, using the tools of dialogue and peace.”

Mosul has been under the control of Islamic State militants since mid-2014.