News Maharishi in the World Today

How We Present
the News

Libyans find old treasures at Tripoli book sale
by Ghaith Shennib

Reuters    Translate This Article
26 April 2013

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Flicking through an old book about Libyan history he never imagined he could buy under Muammar Gaddafi, Ashraf Hussein points to a picture of Tripoli's main square in the 1920s.

'This is where we are standing now, Martyrs Square. Back then it was called Piazza Roma,' the 31-year old history masters student said, referring to Libya's Italian colonial days.

'Such books were forbidden before because they told the true history of Libya—Gaddafi did not want that. I bought many such books today.'

Hussein was one of the hundreds of Libyans who descended on the capital's Martyrs Square this week to browse through thousands of books in Tripoli's first major second hand book sale after the 2011 war that ousted Gaddafi.

With live traditional music in the background, the crowd huddled around tables, perused and bought books about history, philosophy, geography, poetry, cooking, martial arts and novels.

Organisers of the three-day fair, who will use the funds to build a mobile library that will visit schools, said Western books sold out first on the first day—namely the 'Harry Potter' collection.

After a busy first day, they had to cancel the morning opening hours of the fair to make sure there were enough books in the busier evening hours.

'The number of visitors exceeded expectations and there were less and less books,' said 25-year old Rami al-Shaheibi, who donated some books. 'Now we know Libyans are eager for these books. Next time, we will try to provide more, especially English novels and those from other Western cultures.'

Under Gaddafi, Western books were banned under certain periods—while those depicting heroes of the resistance movement against Italian colonialism and independence later were not given the attention they deserved, Libyans say.

Books about King Idris, who Gaddafi ousted in his 1969 coup, were also not available, and any mention of him was usually negative. Instead Gaddafi's Green Book of political ramblings was everywhere.

'There is such a great variety of topics here; many of the topics were off limits before because they were against the regime's ideologies,' state employee Salem Ayayd said.

'Only later you could find such things on the Internet but that was not accessible to all.'

Some 60 volunteers from civil society organisations such as the al-Tanweer (Enlightenment) Movement that focuses on culture, organised the fair by putting up posters in neighbourhoods and messages on Facebook. They managed to collect some 7,000 books.

'This is not about making money or doing business. We want encourage reading, open people's minds through books,' Nizar Abudayna, one of organisers, said.

Some visitors beamed as they bought many books for less than 20 Libyan dinars. 'There is a saying 'When you buy books, you buy happiness,' Suleiman Mansour, another organiser of the sale, said. 'Right now, my happiness is indescribable as I look at all the people buying books.'

Among the books on sale, there were some publications by authors affiliated with the former regime, which irritated some visitors. 'Some people may be annoyed but every book should be given a chance to be put on display,' organiser Abudayna said.

'We don't want to limit people's minds again.'

© Copyright 2013 Reuters

Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. 'Reuters' and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies. For additional information on other Reuters media services please visit

Every day Global Good News documents the rise of a better quality of life dawning in the world from good news reported by the press; and highlights the need for introducing Natural Law based-Total Knowledge based-programmes to bring the support of Nature to every individual, raise the quality of life of every society, and create a lasting state of world peace.

Translation software is not perfect; however if you would like to try it, you can translate this page using:

(Altavista babelfish)

Send Good News to Global Good News.

Your comments.

cultural news more

World News | Genetic Engineering | Education | Business | Health News

Search | Global News | Agriculture and Environmental News | Business News
Culture News | Education News | Government News | Health News
Science and Technology News | World Peace | Maharishi Programmes
Press Conferences | Transcendental Meditation | Celebration Calendars | Gifts
News by Country | News in Pictures | What's New | Modem/High Speed | RSS/XML