Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

On the banks of the Tigris, a refuge for Iraqi readers
By Sarah Benhaida
Baghdad (AFP) Sept 10, 2017

Sitting in the green grass under a bright Baghdad sun, Iraqi men and women bury their heads in romance novels, essay collections and volumes of poetry.

It's far from the image most have of the Iraqi capital-- but for one day this weekend on the banks of the Tigris, Iraqi readers were able to find some respite from the country's violence in the simple joy of losing themselves in a book.

Saturday's "I'm Iraqi, I Read" book fair was the fifth annual edition of the popular festival, which this year saw some 15,000 books collected and distributed, for free, to eager readers.

Around long tables covered in red cloth, volunteers lay out books of fiction, technical manuals, religious tracts and volumes of verse pulled from cardboard boxes.

Hussein Ali, a 23-year-old law student, says it is his second year in a row stocking his library at the festival in Abu Nuwas park, named after the famed eighth-century poet known for his odes to wine and urban life.

"I hope this type of cultural event will continue, especially for young people," says Ali, who like many bemoans the lack of cultural opportunities for youth in Iraq, where some 60 percent of the population is under the age of 25.

Nearby, Raghed Nassir, a 22-year-old finance student, is also enjoying the opportunity to stock up on new reading material.

"Our brains are like boxes that always need to be filled with new things," she says.

Law graduate Tuqa Mohammed, also 23, is browsing books at random, looking for the "adventure" of an unexpected read.

"It's easy to buy a book, but to take a book that you didn't choose... you see it in front of you, you take and read it, this is something nicer and more joyful."

- 'A way to change society' -

Not far away, dozens of festival-goers are writing messages in felt-tip markers on a huge signboard. One of them reads: "Read more and you will see further."

Muntazer Jawad has come some 200 kilometres (125 miles) from his home in Diwaniyah to attend the festival.

A would-be writer himself, Jawad has penned three novels but the 20-year-old with slicked black hair says that for young writers "it's very difficult to get help in being published".

Despite his passion, Jawad gave up his studies of literature to pursue a degree in management and administration "to obey my family and because of the situation in Iraq".

That "situation" -- a never-ending cycle of violence that has ravaged the country and seen Baghdad hit by near-daily attacks -- could not be entirely left behind at the fair.

Automatic rifles slung over their shoulders, Iraqi police patrolled the park, allowing themselves glimpses of the piles of books or artists who had set up their easels in the grass.

Mohammed, wearing a dark jacket over a red-and-black checked shirt, says he's pleased to see "so many young people brought together by reading, because it's a way to change society."

Nassir, her head wrapped in a multi-coloured bandana, says this is even more important "for Iraqi women because their lives are governed by tradition."

Nearby stands a testament to the power of storytelling -- a statue of Scheherazade, the consort of Shahryar of "A Thousand and One Nights", who weaved a tale for her husband each night to escape execution.

Slow recovery for Iraq's Mosul after IS ouster
Mosul, Iraq (AFP) Sept 9, 2017
Two months since Iraqi forces recaptured Mosul from Islamic State group fighters, Mohammed Seddiq's bullet-riddled car is still off the road and his fruit and vegetable shop has yet to reopen. Much of Iraq's second city lies in ruins and many businesses are still at a standstill, even those that produced the famous muslin cotton fabric for which Mosul was renowned before the jihadists seized ... read more

Related Links
Iraq: The first technology war of the 21st century

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

S. Korea, US deploy missile defence amid China protest

S.Korea, US to deploy more anti-missile defences: Seoul

S. Korea launches missile drill after North's nuclear test

US cites its nuclear capabilities in defense against N.Korea

Turkey signs deal to buy Russian S-400 missile systems

Atlantic Diving Supply receives $17.6 million contract for rocket launchers

Raytheon receives $614.5M for SM-3 Block IIA ballistic missile interceptors

Lockheed completes intitial design of helicopter-mounted missile jammers

AUD counter-drone system upgraded by Blighter

Atlas Dynamics Introduces Fixed Wing UAV with 5-Hour Flight Time, 150 Kilometer Operational Range

Atlas Dynamics Unveils NEST Smart Protective Charging Station for Enhanced Performance of Atlas Pro Platform

X-37B Flies Again In First SpaceX Launch

82nd Airborne tests in-flight communication system for paratroopers

North Dakota UAS Training Center Depends on IGC Satellite Connectivity

Northrop awarded contract for support of Air Force communications system

Industry team demonstrates Low Cost Terminal for AEHF satellites

Army ordering new shoulder-fired recoilless rifles

Australia developing wearable 'Fight Recorder' for soldiers

Marines use freeze-dried plasma to save foreign ally

Mobile Camouflage System displayed at DSEI 17

Trump pushes hardware to allies -- and ups pressure on N.Korea

United Technologies buying Rockwell Collins for $30 billion

Middle East conflicts boost Bulgarian arms exports

Defence firms eye billion-dollar chance for 'made in India'

Row in Moldova over US military drills in Ukraine

German MPs in Turkey for soldier visit amid tensions

Russia tells NATO not to worry over war games

Joint military drills begin in Ukraine as Russian war games loom

UMass Amherst environmental chemist flashes warning light on new nanoparticle

A more complete picture of the nano world

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

Carbon nanotubes worth their salt

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement