Covid-19: Iraq’s printing houses struggle to resume operation

After months of suspension due to the Covid-19, many printing machines are operating again along a street in Iraq’s Baghdad where many printing houses are located.

The al-Tabaeen street, in central Baghdad, has dozens of printing houses.

“We stopped working for six months due to the pandemic, but after easing restriction measures, printing press workers returned to work,” Mohammad Naim Hashim, a supervisor at the al-Izdihar Press told Xinhua.

The pandemic and restriction measures have dramatically affected economic and cultural activities in Iraq, dealing a blow to the printing business. Many printing houses have closed their doors, leaving hundreds of workers jobless.

Although his printing house has resumed its business, Hashim said the current production is lower than before.

Thaer Issami, owner of Thaer Printing and Publishing Institution, said the printing profession is recovering from the losses during the lockdown period.

As one of the oldest professions in Iraq, printing practitioners have been going through all kinds of difficulties such as wars and economic blockades.

“Al-Tabaeen Street is one of the important cultural streets in Baghdad, and it is a forum for writers, intellectuals, and printing professionals,” Daham Ali, a writer and history professor said.

With the resumption of business, the street is also contributing to mitigating the impacts of Covid-19 on low-income workers, Ali said.