Runaki Library... Home of Erbil’s writers
One of the famous intellectuals and academics of Kurdistan, who will always remain in memories, is 'Dr. Marif Khaznadar'. He was born in Erbil, studied in Kirkuk and grew up in Bagdad. He accomplished his study in Moscow, served in Bagdad and Algeria, worked for tens of years in Erbil and established the greatest library. This great man passed away in Erbil and buried in ' Chirakh' graveyard in Erbil city. Not just Khaznadar's kitchen in his house was full of books, but in every room, wall, floor and even ceilings of his house there were books in Kurdish, Arabic, Russian, English and other languages.
Marif Khaznadar's house was full of books, love of writing, research and respecting writers were the highest thing inside his home. Everyone interested in talking and thinking of culture and education, could visit that home, he could ask any questions in fields of politics, social and culture, and Dr. Marif as a great and an experienced teacher would answer them. Dr. Marif was always busy with academic study and researches on history of Kurdish Literature; he printed 7 volume of it, before his death, he wrote his memories in the seven volumes. He has published hundreds of researches in Kurdish and Arabic.
In his library, which was called 'Runaki' (light), the light was shining practically inside hearts of financial and spiritual support. There is no doubt that in the developed countries, holding and collecting books may not be difficult. But for Kurds, it was a hard and difficult duty, because at some period of time, the Baath Regime has hanged people because of one book, and it has destroyed tens of books due to its censorship. This case was much harder for political or historical books. That's why people like Dr. Marif Khaznadar and others who thought about establishing libraries inside their home,
aimed to intellectuals and youths who were thirsty of learning. In the library that has been established in Runaki Quarter in Erbil inside his house, books, newspapers, magazines, documents, photos and rare recorded voices are preserved and can be seen. In fact this personal library is like a great national museum. It includes about 15 thousand books and sources, a large number of manuscripts, more than 60 books which he printed, in addition to his published researches in Kurdish and Arabic newspapers and magazines.
In the eighties, while writers and intellectuals couldn't find a safe place far from Baath Regime's police, every Wednesday they were holding cultural seminars in Khaznadar's home, discussing is- sues and obstacles of Kurdish culture. Tens of people learned and developed in this library. There are many writers and intellectuals who benefited from Khaznadar's protect Kurdish sources and the ones that were about Kurds written in foreign languages. Every single page found about Kurds, he has saved them in his library.
His hobby of collecting books stated in 1948, he's been in Soviet in 1960-1968, after he returns to Bagdad, he lectures in Bagdad University, Department of Kurdish Language which raises his eagerness to the idea of establishing the library. At that time, he practically started collecting books written about Kurds; especially the time he was studying in Leningrad he was posting books to Kurdistan. When he returned in 1968, he brought a massive number of books with him. After his retirement, he eventually returns to Erbil in 1982 and started to organize his personal library in a good manner and made it ' Runaki Center'.
Dr. Marif passed away; his publications and products are part of history of culture. Tens of important sources about Kurds are kept safe in his library, but unfortunately after Khaznadar's death, the Runaki center ended, the candle of culture in his library extinguished. He treated his students as a father and a teacher. He as a great and an experienced man was dealing with things as someone greater than anything else.