Once a country of fervent readers, Iraq now starving for books

In Iraq, a country where so much has been leveled by decades of dictatorship, international embargoes and war, few things are easy. Here, students often can't find the books they need. Libraries and schools are understocked, and many bookstores are closed. At those that are open, academic selections are usually limited.

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A Missed Opportunity

This is a missed opportunity for the Iraqi government. With such a literate population, they should have asked the US to help support the rebuilding and new building of an Arabic publishing center. More books are translated and published from foreign languages into Spanish each year than have books published from foreign languages into Arabic since the 9th century.

Here is a chance to get permission to translate and publish up to date school books, textbooks, and modern literature into Arabic and to help distribute these titles not only in Iraq, but in all Arabic speaking countries. Computer science, engineering, medicine, car repair, technology, all of these areas can help the Iraqi world by being translated from foreign languages and made available in Arabic.

At the present, if a student wants to learn a science or technolgy field, they have to learn a new language. Here is a chance to make these books available in Arabic, and distributed throughout the Arab world, through a free press.

Sigh. Another opportunity wasted, as libraries are looted, books are dispersed, and the booksellers bombed out. Meanwhile, $40 billion dollars worth of resources lie unused in Iraqi coffers.

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