(May 23, 2002, Gazette)
During the last four weeks, professors at Sir Wilfred
Grenfell College have been contributing academic textbooks to a growing
pile that will be on its way to Kabul University, Afghanistan.
Under the Taliban regime that was overthrown a few months ago, secular learning
was discouraged. In fact, young women were forbidden from attending school
and even forbidden from learning to read and write. As part of the Taliban
anti-intellectual philosophy, the Kabul University Library, the main repository
of knowledge in Afghanistan, was ransacked. For example, the library copy
of the Columbia Encyclopedia has so many bullet holes through it that it
Education is a vital part of the reconstruction of Afghan society, bringing
it back from the Middle Ages to the present-day world. There are many eager
young Afghani men and women wanting to train to become the doctors, nurses,
teachers and other professionals that their country desperately needs. With
classes having now resumed at Kabul University for the first time in many
years, it is important that the library once more becomes a source of information.
It was as a result of this need that faculty at Grenfell College has been
donating books to help restock the shelves of Kabul University Library with
up-to-date textbooks in the sciences, mathematics, the social sciences,
medicine and the humanities. To ensure the books arrive safely, they are
being shipped to the office of the United Nations Educational, Social and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Islamabad, Pakistan, and UNESCO will ensure
their delivery to the Kabul University Library.