During the Inauguration of the Baghdad International Book Fair, the President Emphasizes the Need to Confront Extremist Ideology and Isolate it

2019/02/07

President Barham Salih stressed that "freedom of thought and expression is constitutionally guaranteed in a democratic Iraq, consolidated by freedom of movement of the book and to be beyond any censorship on thought as long as thought promotes freedom, peace, human dignity, and good coexistence among human beings."
His Excellency inaugurated the Baghdad International Book Fair, today, Thursday, February 7, 2019.
"The confrontation of extremist ideology and its isolation in these circumstances is very important as long as it is used to spread the tendencies of hatred, atonement, and murder," the President said. 
President Salih added: “the Iraqi political life is at a stage of transformation in which victory over terrorism and violence must be strengthened with further measures and reforms that would make it a decisive one, 
His Excellency noted that “this requires some executive, legislative, social and cultural action, but also requires a concerted and responsible regional action until we all achieve a regional environment clean from the causes of the growth and  proliferation of terrorism in thought and action. "
The President demonstrated that "Baghdad today is a great market for books, and it is with its writers and thinkers, be a vital producer of the book, and now in a growing stage for the making of the book, publishing it and distributing it. The destiny of this city is that it is a vital epicenter between the East and West.”
President Salih expressed hope for a “full tax exemption for the book as a contribution to its access to the Iraqi reader at an appropriate price”.
His Excellency added: "I stand here with deep regret and condemnation over the assassination crime of the late writer Alaa Mashthoub. This crime obligates us, as officials and as a society, to make an extraordinary effort to uncover the perpetrators, arrest them, and to bring them to justice, and to work diligently, in security, and in intelligence, as well as politically and socially, to make this crime another motivation to uproot violence and terrorism and any threat to the life, security and dignity of the citizen."
The President, accompanied by First Lady Serbag Salih, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities and a number of senior officials, toured the pavilions of the fair, and had a look on the most important local, Arab and international literary productions that were exhibited and also listened to views and opinions of a number of owners of publishing houses participating in the fair.
Below is the translated of the text of the President's speech:


In the name of Allah the Merciful
“Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous* Who has taught by the pen* Has taught man that which he knew not*”
Ladies and gentlemen
Peace, mercy and blessings of God
Starting, I greet the guests of writers, poets, thinkers and publishers, guests of Baghdad and Iraq. 
I am confident that your visit and contribution to the events of the Baghdad International Book Fair will be a vital and active participation alongside your colleagues from the writers of Iraq, its intellectuals, poets and publishers, to enrich the life of culture, knowledge and beauty. 
I wish that your time in Baghdad would be as good as this early spring, in reference to weather, and in the cycle of the life of the book and thought in Baghdad.
The history of Baghdad and its present time were always closely related to the book and to the book civilization.
This did not stop only in the past; when Baghdad is the capital of the Abbasid state and its Golden Age where the House of Wisdom, the Market of the Warraqians, the councils of science, scholars and the writers, the Schools of Intellectual Controversy in its mosques and the University are there, and its Caliph al-Mamoun when he weighs the book with the gold balance, but that the present Baghdad, starting from the first rise in the early twentieth century was a vital one for culture and knowledge and for the shortening of time in the creation of civic life and the establishment of traditions where the book is respected accordingly, so Baghdad has become a key market for books in the Arab world.
Today, Baghdad is a big book market, which, with its writers and thinkers, is a vital producer of the book, and now it is in the developing process of making, publishing, and distributing the book.
The city’s destiny is that it is a vital epicenter between East and West. At the hands of its thinkers and translators, knowledge and science were transferred and interacted from the east and west of the earth, and in its bookcases, the human heritage was preserved and the diversity of the thinking methods of its scholars enriched the knowledge with debate and interaction. Thus Baghdad contributed to the creation of civilization, and so it was a beacon of creativity.
Thus, it has contributed, and must continue to contribute, to the construction of civilization and the interaction and convergence of civilizations.
No building or interaction without a vital role for culture and intellectuals, and without the book.
I wish that the days of this fair will be an occasion to promote the movement of thought and culture and to estimate the growing need for the book and the freedom of its transfer, circulation and spread, in a way that promotes, advances, and elevates human civilization and enhances the civil life in Baghdad.
I refer here proudly to the keenness of the major publishing houses in the Arab countries to participate in the Baghdad Fair and have an access to the Iraqi reader through it.
We stress our keenness, in the authorities of the Iraqi state, to overcome all the difficulties that may face the movement of the book and its transmission. I refer with appreciation to the decision of our brother the Prime Minister a few days ago to reduce the taxes on the imported book. We will aspire more for a complete tax exemption for the book and to place an emphasis on publishers and sellers to reduce its price for the Iraqi reader in return.
Freedom of thought and expression of opinion are constitutionally guaranteed in a democratic Iraq and are enhanced by the freedom of the book and be beyond any censorship on thought as long as thought promotes freedom, peace, human dignity and good coexistence among human beings. Ideas are matched by ideas, not by prohibition, coercion, and forceful imposition.
It is very important in these circumstances to confront extremist ideology and isolate it as long as it is used to spread hatred and tendencies of atonement and murder.
As we approached politics, through its most serious challenge, the terrorist challenge, I pointed out that Iraqi political life is at a stage of transformation in which victory over terrorism and violence must be strengthened by further reforms and actions that would make it a decisive victory.
This can be done by some means of executive, legislative, social and cultural measures. But it also still requires a concerted and responsible regional action until we all reach a regional environment that is empty of causes for the emergence, growth and multiplication of terrorism as a thought.
I stand here with deep regret and condemnation over the assassination crime of the late writer Alaa Mashthoub. This crime obligates us all, as officials and as a society, to make an extraordinary effort to uncover, arrest and bring to justice the perpetrators, and to work diligently, in security and intelligence, as well as politically and socially to make this crime as another motive to uproot violence and terrorism and any threat to the life, security and dignity of the citizen in this country. 
You will definitely have the opportunity to visit al-Mutanabbi Street, the street of books, reading and creativity.
With efforts and vitality of the Iraqi intellectuals, al-Mutanabi has become a remarkable cultural phenomenon in the region and the world.
In the worst years of violence and terrorism, this street has remained alive and vibrant with its libraries, intellectuals, booksellers and with the growing presence of readers from different strata and classes of people. This was a great response to the ugly crime of blowing up the street.
This is Baghdad and these are the Baghdadi.
Book and culture are a fundamental part of the daily life of a city that has its history and its sons have maintained this role.
A few days ago, this week also, a new annual session of youth activism was launched in Baghdad, which was dedicated for years with the slogan "I am an Iraqi, I read", where public reading events are held and where the book is available to everyone, while writers and men of letters are confronted directly with their readers.
This activity has also been echoed in other cities in Iraq, and activities have been held in more than one city outside the capital.
I remember here proudly that the first civilian action launched in Mosul after its liberation from ISIS terrorism was (I'm an Iraqi I read.)
This was initiated by the city's youth, activists and intellectuals.
This was a significant societal response against the atonement and crime and against terrorism and the holocaust of the University of Mosul at the hands of the obscurantist of the era.
I really appreciate the suffering of authors, publishers and even press houses, since the nineties due to some of the remaining accumulated procedures under the blockade, under the previous laws of the collapsed dictatorial regime under which the export and moving out of the Iraqi book is restricted.
This is what should be worked on to finish it as soon as possible through legal legislation that preserves copyrights and intellectual property rights.
Publishers, along with the authors, may also suffer from problems of disrespect for the rights to transfer books to the Internet.
This is a problem that needs to be taken into consideration and that the future of book through the Internet, publishing, marketing and reading, are challenges that may disturb publishers and those who print, but this is life and that is the accelerated progress of our world and it is our duty to adapt to and benefit from these developments.
Ladies and gentlemen I do not want to be long on that.
Like you, I need time for a tour among the books and their magic.
In the end, I salute all the efforts that have contributed to this civilized encounter that has put us before the world of books and writing.
I hope that Iraqi readers who will come to the fair, men, women and children, will find what satisfies their spiritual and mental needs.
All wishes that the days of the fair will be a spring for books, knowledge and culture.
Thanks for your efforts.
And welcome again with all the guests.
I wish you a happy time and a successful fair. "


Presedent

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