Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here:
a reading to commemorate the March 5th, 2007 destruction of Baghdad’s Bookseller’s Street
Thursday, March 5th, 2020 – 7pm
“The only war is the war on the imagination”
– Diane di Prima
Tehmina Khan, Priscilla Wathington, Farzaneh Safavi, Beau Beausoleil, Walker Brents III and Jerry Ferraz read poems in commemoration of the March 5, 2007 destruction by car bomb of Al-Mutanabbi Street, Baghdad’s bookseller’s street, named for the 10th century Iraqi poet.
This tragedy, in which 26 died and a great many bookshops and stalls were decimated, marked a sad and vivid turn in the second Iraq war, which began with the American invasion in 2003.
Ever since that event, with the motto “Al-Mutanabbi Street starts here,” poets, writers and artists across the world have sought to show solidarity with the Iraqi people by endeavoring to keep the memory of that terrible event alive through their words and art. Readings are being staged far and wide on March 5th and the days immediately around it, in which many of our most politically committed poets will address the tragedy and its implications.
Al-Mutanabbi Street, active for centuries as a street of booksellers, reopened for business and culture four years after the bombing.
Ever since the bombing, poets and artists around the world have worked to ensure that the enmity the power mad hold for thinking, questioning, creative individuals is not forgotten. These poets and artists have shown that resistance, in and of itself, is a creative act.
Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.
The BBCLP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit...
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The IMA can be a conduit for you, if you join in to make it work.
Read more here - Andy Gilbert's Feb 25 article about the IMA from KQED's site