The anthology of written work from the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition has been published by PM Press & is now on sale. Here’s the description from the PM Press website:
On March 5th, 2007, a car bomb was exploded on al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad. More than thirty people were killed and more than one hundred were wounded. This locale is the historic center of Baghdad bookselling, a winding street filled with bookstores and outdoor book stalls. Named after the famed 10th century classical Arab poet al-Mutanabbi, it has been the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community. 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.

This book seeks to show where al-Mutanabbi Street starts in all of us: personally, in our communities, and in our nations. It seeks to show the commonality between this small street in Baghdad and our own cultural centers, and why this attack was an attack on us all. This anthology sees 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. This is where the roots of democracy (in the best sense of that word) took hold many hundreds of years ago. This anthology looks toward al-Mutanabbi Street as an affirmation of all that we hope for in a more just society.

For more info (including a complete list of contributors) & to order a copy of the book, go here.

I have been involved with the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition for a few years now (see the NewLights broadside here and some notes for a panel presentation here), and I am consistently amazed by the unwavering dedication of this group and of its founder, Beau Beausoleil. In addition to the initial broadside project and this anthology, there is now also an artists’ book project. I have heard Beau say many times that the project (in its broad sense) is not an “anti-war” project, nor is it a “healing” project—it’s about looking hard at violence, how it affects people & their culture, and about not looking away.

Buy this book.

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