Baghdad: The proverb ‘pen is mightier than the sword’ is the strength behind Ali al- Moussawi, a 25 year old resident of war torn city of Baghdad. Moussawi is the owner of a mobile book truck that traverses through the city’s aggressive traffic, numerous check points, barbed wires and blast walls.
His passion for books defines him; it is his way of fighting against bombs and swords. The security personal often insists on checking his truck in the hope of finding ammunition and remain clueless when they see wooden shelves filled with books on various subjects. It is often difficult for Moussawi to find parking space for his mobile van.
The once culturally rich city of Baghdad was devastated by Iraq War that began in 2003 and the tremor could be felt even today. The mobile bookstore by Moussawi is an effort to revive among the Baghdadis love for reading. Baghdad was once the literary capital of the Muslim world.
To revive the passion for books, Moussawi launched ‘Iraqi Bookish’ a Face book page in 2015 in an effort to bring people who shares similar passion under one roof. The page was such a huge hit that he never looked back. He began organizing book clubs, contests, singing and writing seminars at various cultural centers and cafes across the city.
“I always wanted to meet people who share my passion as a result wanted to create a space where such people can gather any time regardless of what they are,” said Moussawi who holds a bachelor’s degree in English translation. Eventually he took to selling books to fund various cultural activities. He had opened a bookstore in Baghdad where they offer delivery services and designing book theme gifts.