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Articles tagged "Baghdad"

Music in a Baghdad Alley

No matter where you settle or wander That first melody is yours At every arrival and departure Its living face will meet you at the entrance that remains If you walk and the opposing wind is in your face and Death alone is the alternative To hear it departing between worlds, where you go and come. Did you not hear it one night As you were passing under a balcony? Your longing still anchors it in the heart of wandering A blind musician shaking it off From the nooks in his...

The Last Six Days of Baghdad

This morning, I decide on another escape route to dodge the police surveillance of the rigid Mukhabarat we can’t seem to shake off. I will jump in the first illegal taxi that comes near the hotel and make a grand tour of Baghdad. No sooner said than done. I happen on an old retired civil servant, who’s turned illegal cab driver to make up his pension. In his wreck of a Fiat, Abdelbaki and I take a very long ride into the city, far from the hassle of the security...

A Vacation in Basra

February 2005. Violence rages following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the southern port city of Basra is dominated by the militants of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army. The British, who are stationed in Basra, are doing little to stem the chaos. Mariusz Zawadzki, a reporter for the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, takes a break from reporting on the chaos in Baghdad to travel to Basra—alone. Attempting to drive to Basra—which is about five hundred kilometers from...

The Baghdad Clock

I never feared them nor did they ever do anything to frighten me. They were there, next to the stove, mixed up with the crackling of firewood, the taste of freshly baked bollos, the to-and-fro of the old women’s skirts. I never feared them, perhaps because in my imagination they were pale and beautiful, listening as we did to the stories that took place in nameless hamlets, waiting for the right moment to let themselves be heard, to whisper to us wordlessly: “We’re here,...

Hanzala

It’s August 2000, and I’m overwhelmed by this emotional leavetaking. It’s the first time you’ve ever dreaded visiting your grandfather al-Atawi, but it’s because you’re saying good-bye—before you depart for Baghdad. We never thought you would travel overseas and leave us. Sanaa is twenty-seven kilometers west of your grandfather’s village, Hisn Arfata. You have persuaded me that you can say good-bye to your grandfather without telling...

Words

Who walks wearily within me at a time when your wound does not sleep? Baghdad I will divest you of your morgue so long to grasp I will divest you at the heart of things at the pinnacle of my childhood. We must still traverse side by side the mad ravings of the doubles who observe us. Does my memory still fail to decipher the underside of things? I want you to be like a palm tree every evening dizzily bowing its petioles. We must still traverse side by...

The Scent of Berries

Who among us belongs to another: Do you, with the wrinkled face? Or we, guardians of the road to no return? Or do we all, Baghdad, belong to the executioner? The scent of berries is still on my sleeve, but the berries have vanished! The fish, too, no longer travel the streams but sink together into the sea as the rivers do! Who harvests memory from soil sown with corpses? Who beats his present with the cane of departure? Amidst this world of nightmare this world...

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