(13 November 2004) I went to The Printed Matters Expo on the very last day. It was a Friday. I was there from 12pm till about 4 and got to see many booths. Unlike The Book Expo which is always busy, and although it was the last day of the expo, it was pretty quiet. A couple of children’s publishers also participated: Keyhan For Kids, Roshd Publication, and Doost Magazines (they all get published under the supervision of the Department of Education and Training). I remembered the time I was an exhibitor quite some time ago when I was working with Taravat Magazine (a magazine for Afghani kids in Iran). It was just about a year ago in 1382 when Taravat Magazine started to print in color. Kids were so happy for getting the chance to see colorful magazines. Last year the expo was located at Hejab Stadium which belongs to the Educational and Training Club. This time though, it was located elsewhere and I couldn’t find any of the Afghani publishers. Although there are so many Afghani intellectuals and educated people who might have lived in Iran for more than 30 years and that more than 3 million Afghanis are included in the working class in different parts of Iran, there was no Afghani publisher in the expo. None of them could participate.
I stayed at Roshd Magazines for a little while. Roshd Magazine is both for kids and adults: kids of any age, from kindergarten to high school and adults in educational roles such as teachers, supervisors, and school principals. I bought one magazine from each category. I also saw an interesting periodical named “Writing an Essay”. It’s a great periodical that started publication in 1392 and just as its name suggests, it focuses on improving writing skills mainly.
When later that night I started reading some of the magazines I bought, including “Teacher Development”, “Leader Development” and “School for tomorrow”, I got disappointed in my career and education system as a whole. I thought to myself it’s such a pity to think about Afghani kids in schools in Iran if the schools are the way it is described in these magazines; and it is even more disappointing to think about the schools in Afghanistan.
I’m reading “Dog Years” these days, a novel by Günter Grass which is quite fascinating in the way it represents our lives; or at least the name suggests some similarities!
My compact camera is not working again and I took this photo with some difficulty with this newspaper seller and his bike and the bicycle basket filled with magazines and books which is the symbol of the expo!