My favorite writer on everything has some words on “how you can do your bit to build democracy”:

In the northern Iraqi city of Sulaymaniya, the American University of Iraq has just opened its doors. And it is appealing for people to donate books.

As anyone who has read the Arab Human Development Reports will know, the Arab region–which at the time of the Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad was one of the world centers of humanistic learning and philosophy–is in a profound crisis of intellectual unfreedom. It boasts of no great centers of study; it translates pathetically few books from other languages and cultures; it is prone to waves of intolerance and fanaticism under which books are actually burned. Thus the attempt to reverse this trend and to lay the foundation of a liberal and cosmopolitan education for the next generation of educated Iraqis is of the highest importance from every conceivable point of view.

And last but not least, how:

So here’s what to do. Have a look at the university’s Web site. Get some decent volumes together, pass the word to your friends and co-workers to do the same, and send them off to:

Nathan Musselman
The American University of Iraq–Sulaimani
Building No. 7, Street 10
Quarter 410
Ablakh Area
Sulaimani, Iraq
(+964) (0)770-461-5099

It’s important to include the number at the end.

We’ve been going through our 2,500 books over the last few days, sorting out doubles and the like, and should have a nice package to send soon.