These Rebels Have Amassed A Library From Syria’s Ruins

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tags: Syria, Damascus

Outside, winter’s chill grips the grey, war-ravaged city, a nightmarish landscape of bombed-out buildings, piles of rubble, and smoldering trash frequently strafed by screeching warplanes or regime helicopters loaded with crude bombs made of dynamite and metal shards.

But inside the basement of a residential building in the Damascus suburb of Daraya, the world beyond Syria’s borders opens up. It is a place of learning and ideas, with books salvaged from the wreckage outside and cobbled together into a makeshift library of 15,000 volumes. A photocopy of an old history book, a shelf full of children’s stories, and self-help books by Tony Robbins, sit alongside a J.M. Coetzee novel, a volume of Islamic scholarship, and slim editions of Arabic poetry by Mahmoud Darweesh or Nizar Qabbani. They are read by candlelight during lengthy power outages or at the war front by rebel fighters.

“With all the destruction, we need to hold onto our culture,” said Ahmad, one of the main organizers and the spokesman of the library. Speaking to BuzzFeed News over the course of weeks of interviews conducted over a dotty Skype connection, he asked that his last name be withheld for fear of regime reprisal against his family.

Read entire article at Buzzfeed

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