5th Martyr Herekol Book Fair, a story of success

The 5th Martyr Herekol Book Fair continues with success in Northern and Eastern Syria despite the many obstacles faced by organisers.

The 5th Martyr Herekol Book Fair opened on 29 July at the Mihemed Şêxo Culture and Art Center in the city of Qamishlo. 44 publishing houses from Northern and Eastern Syria, Başur, Bakur, Rojhilat, Syria, Italy, Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Lebanon and Turkey are participating in the fair, which is organized with the slogan “Books are the source of life”. 130,000 books by 13,000 authors are on display at the fair.

The fair will last for 8 days and is being visited by students, artists, writers, journalists, political party members, security forces, war veterans.

Success of Afrin stands

The most interesting part of the book fair is the Afrin section opened by the Afrin Intellectuals Union, who were forced to flee their homes due to the Turkish invasion attacks. Most of this section consists of the works of authors from Afrin. This year alone, they published 54 books and Afrin is the region which published most books.

Visitors are asked to write something for the people of Afrin in the section dedicated to Afrin.

Many messages have been collected so far and they will be delivered to the people of Afrin living in the refugee camps in the Shehba region.

Rona Agit, children’s hero

The fair also has a special section dedicated to children's books and stories. A 12-year-old girl takes care of this section. A girl named Rona Agit from the city of Qamishlo attended the 4th Martyr Herekol Book Fair held last year with Amara publishing house. This year, Rona Agit saved her pocket money and opened a special section for children. Rona Agit, the hero of Kurdish children, does not forget to write something in every book sold.

Rona Agit said: “In the past, children's books were very limited in Rojava. There was no children's library until now. That's why I wanted to do this. My family and friends, especially my father, supported me a lot in this regard. With the money of the books I sell, I will buy books for the children of Rojava.”

From bans to extra shipping costs

While the preparations for the opening of the fair continued, many obstacles were encountered. However, despite all the difficulties, the book fair opened and continues successfully.

Among the obstacles were those posed by the Turkish state that prevented many publishing houses from South Kurdistan and Turkey from delivering books to the fair.

Books from Aram bookstore in South Kurdistan were confiscated by KDP forces due to the presence of photographs of people such as Musa Anter and Rûstem Cudi.

Some of the people affiliated with the organization called ENKS tried to smear the fair.

Syrian regime forces prevented the passage of books from the cities of Damascus and Aleppo. While books were delivered to the fair with excessive shipping charges from Damascus, books could not be sent from Aleppo.

Books given to students

Amara bookstore at the fair gave books to students who achieved success in the 9th and 12th grades. Again, almost all the bookstores in the fair gave books to many people. At the end of the fair, books will be given to universities in Rojava.

Novels, history, research, philosophical and cultural books attracted the most attention at the fair. Most books were written in Kurmanci and Arabic.

Among the books at the fair are:
* Books by Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan
* The book 'Rojhilata Navin (Middle East)' by Rûstem Cudî
* Aldar Xelîl's book 'Rojava Revolution'
* Books describing what happened after the invasion of Afrin
* Books about the ISIS era and the destruction caused by ISIS
* Books on historical resistance to mercenaries such as ISIS
* Books on Kurdish language, literature, culture and history
* Books on Arabic language, literature, culture and history
* Kurdish legends and stories
* The book "Namusname" by the author named Menaf Osman from Hesêkê, who has been imprisoned in Turkey for 29 years
* Books by Selim Berekat, known as the Yaşar Kemal of Arabic literature
* Books by dozens of poets
* Arabic-Kurmanji-Sorani-Kırmancki-Turkish-English dictionaries