Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Poets and Writers Respond to the March 5th, 2007, Bombing of Baghdad’s “Street of the Booksellers”

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by Beau Beausoleil (Editor),Deema Shehabi (Editor)

On March 5th, 2007, a car bomb was exploded on al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad—the historic center of Baghdad bookselling—wounding more than 100 people and killing more than 30. This anthology begins with a historical introduction to al-Mutanabbi Street and includes the writing of Iraqis as well as a wide swath of international poets and writers who were outraged by this attack. Exploring the question Where does al-Mutanabbi Street start?, the book looks at both communities and nations, seeking to show the commonality between a small street in Baghdad and other individual cultural centers and explain why this attack was an attack on us all. Chapters examine al-Mutanabbi Street as a place for the free exchange of ideas, a place that has long offered its sanctuary to the complete spectrum of Iraqi voices, and a place where the roots of democracy took hold many hundreds of years ago.