Iraqi book festival draws thousands

Photo by REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani
Sun, Oct 12, 2014

by Shukur Khilkhal

In a rare scene, thousands of books and CDs were lined up in Abu Nawas park overlooking the Tigris River in Baghdad. People gathered there, as they read and picked any book they desired for free. It was the Iraqi Reading Festival, known as the “I'm Iraqi, I read books” festival, which successfully celebrated its third anniversary on Oct 4. Men, women and entire families attended the festival, where they browsed among the books and enjoyed reading. The children rallied around children’s books, joyfully picking them for an Eid gift.

It seems that the Iraqis have not forgotten that Baghdad was once a city of enlightenment that helped their civilization to be disseminated across the world. By taking part in the reading festival, Iraqis have expressed their desire for Baghdad's role to be restored. Despite the insecurity and deployment of military units on outer roads, a number of Iraqis came from the provinces outside the capital to attend this year's festival.

To read the full piece from Al-Monitor, click here.