BAGHDAD, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- The 46th Baghdad International Book Fair kicked off Thursday with the participation of hundreds of publishers and high attendance of masses of Baghdadi readers, as it sheds more light on eradicating terror and extremism in the war-torn country.
The book fair hosts some 650 domestic and international publishers and will take place across 12 days between Feb. 7 and Feb. 18.
Iraq's President Barham Salih, along with other Iraqi officials and diplomatic delegations from several countries, attended the opening ceremony and gave a brief opening speech during which he asserted the importance of confronting terrorism and extremism through culture.
The organizers named this year's edition of the book fair after slain Iraqi writer Alaa Mashzoub, who was assassinated by unknown gunmen on Saturday in Karbala province. Mashzoub was known for criticizing Iran-backed militias and clerics in Iraq.
During his speech, Salih also condemned the assassination of Mashzoub, saying that "this crime is another motive to eradicate violence and terror and any threat on the life, safety and dignity of the Iraqi civilians."
Steve Clark, the editorial director of Pathfinder Press which was also participating in the exhibition, said that "people around the world have to see ourselves as brothers and sisters, to have solidarity with each other."
Many dropped by the Pathfinder Press booth to leaf through the pages of books on people's struggle from around the world, such as stories about the struggle of black people against authorities in the United States.
Over 2 million books will be displayed across the 12 days of the exhibition.
One of the most interesting Arabic-written Iraqi titles is Safa Kahalf's latest book "Iraq After Daesh", which tells about excessive optimism in post-Islamic State (IS) Iraq amid a continuation of engraving ordeals inflicted on society, such as assassinations, water crises and political corruption.
Among the publishers was Baraa's Publishing House, run by Baraa al-Bayati, a 30-year-old writer and Baghdad's first female bookseller.
"The increasing participation of publishing houses and writers from around the world reflects the success of this exhibition," al-Bayati said, adding that the presence of women in the book fair and all aspects of life is "important" and gives the world a positive idea about the country.
In the center of the hall, five statues of human bodies created with book papers stood on stacks of books installed by Iraqi visual artist Satar Nehma. "It is a fusion between the human body and the book," he said.
"This is an excellent exhibition," Nehma said. "It seems like in Baghdad, we are yearning for such cultural gatherings and activities."