Iraq National Library and Archive to remain closed

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Friends and Colleagues,

Numerous individuals have expressed concern over the status of the Iraq National Library and Archive since I reported on its closing a week ago Monday. I have conveyed some of these messages directly to Dr. Saad Eskander, Director-General of the library. He has stated that he and his staff deeply appreciate the moral support provided under such extremely difficult conditions.

Dr. Eskander was contemplating the issue of whether to reopen this past weekend. However, on Sunday, December 3rd, just as he reached his office, a bomb exploded in the building directly opposite the National Library and Archive. Furthermore, he reports that the Ministry of Culture is itself closed. Having received no instructions from his government or minister, and with the level of insecurity unabated, he has decided that the NLA should remain closed for the time being.

Yours truly,

Jeffrey B. Spurr
Islamic and Middle East Specialist
Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture
Fine Arts Library, Harvard University
Fogg Art Museum
32 Quincy St.
Cambridge, MA 02138-3802

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