By Mike Thompson
For most of us Syria and its horrible, horrible war is a world away. An unimaginable horror, with tragedies of human suffering almost too horrible to comprehend. Yet in all of this unimaginable suffering a story has emerged about a “secret library” in the once besieged town of Daraya, where local people sought to create a memory of what they once hadm when their lives had been “normal” and “happy.”
Daraya lies on the fringe of Damascus, just south west of the Syrian capital. Beseiged by Syrian government forces since 2011, it lay in ruins. Shelled and shot at, deep beneath this city lay a secret library that existed for a number of years.
Whilst the streets above were shattered to where even the stones were broken, this library existed for a while with hope and dedication.
Mike Thompson, correspondent for the BBC, has put together an amazing account of human resilience and values. How the love of books brought people together and for a while gave hjope before the awful conclusion.
We meet many people, Anas Habib, Amjad, Omar to name just a couple who risked their lives to rescue books and create a safe reading space beneath the bombed city.
“Syria’s Secret Library” is easily readable, at times a little rambly, but it has an important message for us. A shared humanity within its pages.