Three cities along the Tigris River are attempting to promote Iraqi literature in an initiative called '"I am Iraqi, I love to read". The initiative will be launched in September in Mosul and Baghdad, as well as Maysan Province.
The Iraqi organisation called I Am Iraqi, I love to read has launched a nation-wide project to celebrate Iraqi literature and encourage people of all ages to read more books in their day-to-day lives. Moreover, the project organisers hope that the cultural education each person will receive from reading more books will help to develop Iraqi society following the defeat of ISIS in the country.
“Three cities stretched along the Tigris River will come together for the sake of reading,” said a member of the organisation. “They will be reading a collection of books that have been allocated by a voluntary and preparatory committees that have worked hard for months to collect tens of thousands of books.”
The project was launched in the Ridha Alwan Cultural Cafe in Mosul, which will host the first event of the project, with further events taking place in Baghdad and in the southern province of Maysan. By hosting the flagship event in Mosul, residents of the city and members of the organisation hope to publicise the peace, inclusiveness and cultural revival that the city has experienced in the post-ISIS era.
“The initiative in Mosul is a message to the world to show that the city of Mosul is a moderate and civilised city,” said another of the organisation’s members. “[The city of Mosul] refutes all sorts of extremism and that the phase of extremism that the city experienced was forcefully imposed upon it.”
The literature project is one of many literature initiatives that have been organised across Iraq following the formal defeat of ISIS in the country in December 2017. Under ISIS’ oppressive rule, reading was almost entirely outlawed and restricted to only reading Islamic texts. Harsh penalties were dealt to any person who disobeyed the militant group’s rulings.
At the beginning of the month, a poetry competition was held in Mosul, in which local poets competed for the title of Sha’ir Um al-Rabiein or The Mosul Poet in English. Six female poets took part in the competition, which was judged by four prominent Moslawi poets. The participation of the Iraqi women highlights the growing role of women in Iraq following the elimination of ISIS in the country.