The festival was organised by the Turkmen Students Union and it gathered writers to showcase their works.
To commemorate the 2nd anniversary of the liberation of Tal Afar from ISIS, residents from the city, which is located in northwestern Iraq, came together to hold a festival under the slogan “Tal Afar Reads” amidst the presence of local figures and intellectuals.
Held by the Turkmen Students Union, the festival also featured an exhibition of paintings, sculptures, calligraphy, and a book fair.
“It is a very beautiful celebration and some books were distributed by writers who wrote books about Tal Afar and the current situation,” said a local official present at the festival. “Surely, this is very encouraging and important for the people of Nineveh province in general and the city of Tal Afar in particular. This event reflects the true image of this city.”
“On the second anniversary of the liberation of our beloved city of Tal Afar from ISIS, we held the second book exhibition in the city where many writers, authors, and intellectuals participated,” said another attendee. “Tal Afar is a cultured city with many writers and intellectuals. Today, three authors have distributed their books and this is a fine proof that we have intellectuals, writers”.
While the aim of the festival remains positive, other areas of the city remain neglected, such as the slow pace of reconstruction and repopulation, with houses and roads still destroyed and displaced people unable or unwilling to return to their homes. According to some estimates, only 40% of the city’s residents have returned.
Following the emergence of ISIS into Tal Afar and the surrounding Nineveh Province in 2014, parts of the city were destroyed, especially during the clashes to remove ISIS, which was one of the group’s last strongholds in Iraq.
According to the local Mayor, Qassem Mohammed Sherif Ibrahim, 20% of the city’s building have been damaged or destroyed.
Despite the seemingly bleak image of Tal Afar, its residents are hopeful that the city will see better days and witness greater stability, as evidenced through the positive atmosphere generated by this festival.