The Libraries in Homes
Khaznadar: “Just for getting a newspaper or a magazine, I’ve travelled a continent after another.”
One out of the many people who grew up between Erbil and Bagdad started collecting old Kurdish papers and magazines, and with all love and selflessness, worked in the field of research and archive of Kurdish journalism is (Jamal Khaznadar – 1948). This man is interested in old Kurdish prints and publications to an extent that his act, speech and thinking are only about collecting sources and searching for the latest prints and finding the oldest prints of Kurdistan.
There is no official institution for archiving and documenting Kurdish Journalism in Kurdistan, what Khaznadar has done goes back to April of 1968. As he says, the idea of establishing this centre and working for preservation of Kurdish publications goes back to those days when he sees the first Kurdish newspaper <Kurdistan' which issued on April 22nd 1898. After the decision of establishing the centre, he starts looking for newspapers and publications issued during the era of the first Kurdish government in Slemany lead by Sheikh Mahmood Hafeed. Beside collecting newspapers, magazines, rare photos, papers and scripts, he has printed some books as well, the latest one is an encyclopedia of Kurdish journalism which consists of twelve volumes. The first volume has been printed and others are under preparation. He says that the encyclopedia is the product of the center, and his life's project.
Khaznadar mentions that in the first step, in 75th anniversary of Kurdistan Newspaper, he issued a book in Kurdish, Arabic and English that was called "guidebook of Kurdish journalism". At that time, he could only get 130 newspapers and magazines which he has registered in his book and explained them.
Regarding the number of Kurdish newspapers and magazines kept in the center, Khaznadar says they're about 4000 copies. After he leaves Bagdad in 1995 and heads to Europe to settle in Germany – Hanuver, he opens a branch of the center and collected hundreds of Kurdish newspapers and magazines in Europe, America, Canada and Australia. For finding a newspaper or a magazine he has traveled entire the world as he says. "Sometimes just to collect a copy of a newspaper, I travelled hours by planes and went to continents to find a Kurdish printed source," Khaznadar says.
Khaznadar struggles to make the center an official institution and to provide a building and other necessary equipments, but he hasn't yet received any response regarding building national museum of Kurdish journalism. In addition to that, he wants to make the center a source for researchers and specialists and help them when they conduct researches on cultural topics in Kurdistan.
Khaznadar says his center in Germany is annually supported by German government, a special place has been devoted for, but there is still no specific and suitable place in Kurdistan for the center. He mentions that there is no place in which he could save those historical sources, which are original copies of newspapers and magazines, some of them have only one copy which is kept in the center. "As time continues its passage, these sources will be damaged and lost," says Khaznadar.