Iraqi Journalists Publish Two Books To Celebrate Women’s Day
Mohammed Raheem– Yalla – Baghdad
Two books, Jumana and A Dialogue on Iraqi Culture Since 2003 were recently published to coincide with International Women’s Day and the Newroz celebrations. The Women’s Committee at the Ministry of Culture celebrated the publishing of the books by journalists Widad Ibrahim and Raja Hamid Rashid on Tuesday 22 March at the Kurdish Culture Publishing House.
“We decided against organising official seminars and parties because women have become uninterested in such events. We decided to look at aspects of their daily lives, and found many depressing cultural barriers in Iraq that degrade the work of women and influence the perception of the society in general towards their work,” the head of the Women’s Committee told Yalla. “We are specifically frustrated at the posters that were disseminated in Baghdad recently. They degrade the value of women and treat them according to outdated traditions, and such actions incite violence against women. We decided to remove the posters and this was the first activity for the Women’s Committee at the Ministry of Culture in 2016.”
She confirmed that the second activity was the book signing for the books written by two female writers. Widad Ibrahim wrote Jumana, which tells the short, and often difficult, stories of women the writer has met. She also relates other true stories experienced by women in Iraqi society. Readers will also learn of the hardships endured by Iraqi women during the Iraq – Iran war.
“All the stories are true, told to me by real characters who shared their suffering. At the time I decided to document them and write about them in the press, but later I realised that they deserved more permanent attention,” Widad Ibrahim told Yalla.
Widad was surprised when she enquired about the sales of her book from a bookseller on Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad. “A very good book, my friend and I have read it, but I haven’t sold a copy,” the bookseller said.
Raja Hamid told Yalla that her book A Dialogue on Iraqi Culture Since 2003, contains the biographies of twenty three Iraqi cultural personalities which document the cultural history of Iraq since 2003.
“I collected the dialogues to document this important stage in the journeys of the personalities in the book who have extensive knowledge in Iraqi culture and literature,” Raja told Yalla. “The cost of publishing the book was covered by my husband as a birthday present.”
Dr. Fawzi al-Atrushi, Deputy Minister of Culture, who supervises the work of the Women’s Committee, hopes the two books aren’t the only work produced and stressed the importance of continuity.
“I hope there is a continuous journey of contribution and achievement in order to better serve marginalised women in Iraqi society,” al-Atrushi said. “Publishing the first book gives great pleasure to the writer. The Ministry of Culture is unable to fund publishing costs for Iraqi authors due to the financial crisis, but we helped the writer to find a printing company that charged a reasonable and competitive price.”