Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Burning of the Library of Algiers

I was recently contacted by Larry T. Nix, who shared with me a page he has prepared on a selection of philatelic items which commemorate the burning of the Library in Algiers in 1962. The burning was part of a series of attacks made on social and cultural centres in Algeria by the militant OAS as part of their violent resistance to Algerian self rule: the library and the surrounding campus of the University of Algiers were set alight by the detonation of phosphorus bombs in early June 1962.

Although I’ve not seen exact figures, it’s clear that this resulted in serious losses to the Library, and it’s interesting, in this light, that it is the burning of the Library which continues to have the greatest resonance. As Larry’s page shows (
http://www.libraryhistorybuff.com/bibliophilately-algiers-library.htm), the burning of the Library has been commemorated across the Middle East, although it is probably fair to say that the attack is not as well known in the West.

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