At a time when bombs, shells and missiles are wrecking so many lives, it may seem frivolous or callous to worry that they also menace books. Look at history, however, and you’ll find that a contempt for human beings and a contempt for the culture that they fashion never stand too far apart. In Beirut, this week, some books that powerful but truly callous people in the West really ought to read have just about survived – so far. They are languishing in a warehouse in the pulverised south of the city used by Saqi Books. … Since Saqi prints in Lebanon, these are the books that now sit at the mercy of the raining bombs. We could hardly need them more urgently than we do now. They are Hikayat: Short Stories by Lebanese Women, edited by Roseanne Saad Khalaf; and Qissat: Short stories by Palestinian Women, edited by Jo Glanville.
I’ve just heard from Jo that the books have been liberated by a courageous, unnamed individual who drove them out to Damascus. Hurray! Now we will have books for the event in September.