The 20th Book Fair opened [Archives:2003/674/Culture]

October 6 2003

Fahmia Al-Fotih
The ministry of culture and tourism has organized the 20th International Book Fair held at Expo-Sana'a Center for international exhibitions that has started on Sunday 28 September and lasts for 6 October.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by the vice-president, Abd Rabo Mansour who praised the ministry of Culture and Tourism for its intensive efforts to prepare for such event.
President Ali Abduallah Saleh also visited and toured the fair on Thursday and was impressed by the well-prepared event and asked for repeating such fabulous work. He also confirmed the importance of getting knowledge and obtaining science, as it is the only way to follow up and update the rapid changes all over the world.
Mr. Khalid al-Rwaiashan, the Culture and Tourism minister, said in statement to Yemen Times ''This time the Book Fair is very distinguished by the number of participating publishers from the neighboring countries that are more than 300 publishers as well as the number of the new displayed books. It is also distinctive by the additional halls attached to the cultural activities. Moreover, the book fair is distinguished by its varied cultural programs and many facilities that are provided for publishers that would be reflected positively on readers and their relationship with the book. The president's visit to the book fair ensures these aforementioned advantages.''
He also said ''All the cultural activities that the ministry holds are basically under the title ''Yemeni initiative is the beginning to renew Arab relations'' as well as preparation to declare Sana'a a capital for Arab culture in 2004.''
Dr. Abdualaziz al-Makaleh, the prominent poet and intellectual, said about this cultural event ''I am very pleased to see thousands visitor to the fair that really reflects the desire of Yemeni citizens to read and get knowledge.''
He added, ''The ministry of Culture and Tourism has well chosen the location as it is in the center of the city that gives opportunity to all to easily come and have a look at the latest titles and latest books and publications.''
He commented ''What I have noticed is that the Arab library has become richer with different books on science, art, literature, religion, and culture in general. What has attracted me so much is to see the young generation represented by school students with strong desire to get knowledge and science. I hope that this cultural experience to be held annually and to be expanded and be more organized.''
Ahmed al-Shalfi, cultural and media advisor, explained ''The number of visitors to the fair on the first day has reached 50,000, and that is a good figure compared to some Arab fairs. There are various cultural activities held daily to accompany the book fair. There are groups of Arab intellectuals who like to share us this event. There is as Saudi participation entitled ''Terrorism as phenomenon'' and ''Literature in peninsula.''
He continued ''The ministry of culture and tourism represented by Mr. Al-Ruwaishan has honored intellectual personalities of 2003 and chosen Mr. Ahmed Jaber al-Afif the cultural personality of this year for the efforts and pivotal role his own foundation has played in the spread of culture and knowledge.''
''The participation included local, Arab and international. Mr. Abdulrahaman al-Abanoudi and Mr. Ahmed al-Shadi from Egypt and Mr. Fakhar al-deen from Lebanon and Mr. Sulaiman al-Esaee from Syria.''
He concluded ''The ministry has cherished to start a new era as the time is close to announce Sana'a a capital for Arab culture in 2004. We hope that we have made this event successful.''
Inside the fair we met some visitors who were happy to find what they were looking for and some complained for not finding the books they wanted to find.
Samira al-Ruwaishan, a university student, smilingly said, ''The fair is very fantastic. Most of the books I look for I find here with suitable prices. But unfortunately, the period is limited and the fair is held once a year.''
Dr. Yasin al-Maktari, ''I have noticed that there are many books in the field of Arab language and Islamic issues while there are few scientific books. Besides, there is slight difference between the prices here and those at book shops.''
Nabeela Ahmed Hussein commented ''The books are very varied and useful and this time included various fields and different counties have participated in. The prices are also reasonable.''
Eng. Abdu Hamoud al-Thaibani said, ''The fair this time has different kinds of books. However, we are surprised that the prices are not as we expected despite the announced discounts. The time of the fair is limited, that does not give us a chance to see all displayed books.''
Mr. Taha al-Dialami, student, ''The fair is excellent. It provides all our scientific needs as students. I have found worthy and rare books that is because more than a country has participated in the fair this time. We hope if the period can be expanded.”