“I am Iraqi … I Read” Festival Launched In Central Baghdad – 1300 Books Entered
Mohammed Raheem – Yalla – Baghdad
The fourth “I am Iraqi … I Read” festival has taken place in central Baghdad, at the Shahrazad and Shahryar gardens on Abu Nawas street. The well-attended festival showcased a diverse number of books, both printed and digital, in addition to art, and a play and painting workshop for children.
“The idea of ‘I am Iraqi … I read’ is a discussion of how we can offer Iraqi citizens an alternative to radicalisation and a disinclination to culture, and move towards reading – ignorance is the enemy of people,” journalist Emad al-Sharaa, one of the contributors, said.
“If citizens are educated, which is needed in this country, it will present a very important opportunity to have a different Iraq. We will try through the initiative of ‘I am Iraqi … I read’ every year to increase the number of book readers and pioneers in the country.”
Al-Sharaa told Yalla that last year 6,000 people attended and 9,000 books were entered. This year there was 13,000 books, suggesting an appetite for more projects around the country.
Farah Abd al-Hussein, a digital book contributor to an initiative by the Iraqi Network for Social Media (INSM), said her she was attending the event for a second time.
“This is an initiative to bring together peaceful civilians to read books in Iraq,” she said. “The atmosphere is really beautiful when the young dedicat their time to reading books. It makes us feel that the initiative is a positive for the future of Iraq.”
Author Abdel Moneim Alaasam also spoke to Yalla. “This festival – year by year, festival after festival – crowd after crowd of youths, families and intellectuals, prove that in Iraq there is a recipe for change and there is a group with cultural knowledge who guarantee the future of Iraq and love the culture. They are also protective of the cultural history of Iraq and are determined to move forward in order to remove the impurities that have covered our beautiful Iraq, which has come from the corrupt, the ignorant and the politicians,” he said.
“We are now taking another step in the right direction. I congratulate the youths and the intellectuals on this major festival and the celebration that makes us prouder of the Iraqis.
“We are today taking part in the festival of ‘I am Iraqi … I read’ for the second year on a platform through which we offer 1,000 digital books in diverse fields including literature, culture, science, philosophy and history, of which 950 are in Arabic and 50 are in English,” Muhannad Manjad from INSM told Yalla.
“This year we offer the books on flash memory sticks to anyone who requests it, and we follow up with them. This is the second year we offer new titles in addition to providing them with an archive so that they have a complete digital library.”