Even if you delete thunderbird, I do believe that the user profiles still remain in your home directory
Inside of this directory is going to be a directory structure like this.
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user 335 2011-09-06 10:24 appreg
drwx------ 3 user user 4096 2012-02-21 09:22 Crash Reports
drwx------ 10 user user 4096 2012-03-14 18:52 ekfsczpd.default
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user 94 2011-09-06 10:24 profiles.ini
The directory listed above in BOLD is your user profile. (Assuming you only have 1 email account configured in thunderbird.)
If you do only have one user account, move the profile out of the way.
Be very careful with this command.
#mv ekfsczpd.default ekfsczpd.bak
This will now force your thunderbird account to essentially recreate itself during the next launch. You will have to re-enter your email address / username /password / SMTP or IMAP account info.
If that fixes the problem then great. Next step is to recover your mailboxes, address list , filters etc...
Close out thunderbird, navigate back to your /home/user/.thunderbird directory.
You should now see a new .default directory, copy all of your mailbox folders from your old profile to your new profile.
#cp -R /home/user/.thunderbird/ekfsczpd.bak/*Mail* /home/user/.thunderbird/newdirectoryname.default
This should now copy over your Mail and IMAP mail into your new profile, essentially importing all your mail and message rules.
This should be what you need to situate yourself. You can copy additional config files over for example, the prefs.js file, but I wouldn't recommend it.