Eleven years ago on this day, March 5, a car bomb targeted Baghdad’s historic open-air book market—Al-Mutanabbi Street. During this attack, 26 lives were lost and countless others were injured.
Al-Mutanabbi Street was named after one of the greatest poets of the Arabic language, the 10th century classical Iraqi poet Al-Mutanabbi. His legacy lends to the culture of Al-Mutanabbi Street. When the bomb exploded, lives were ended and precious books were destroyed. However, this street and all that it represents will not be erased from the Iraqi landscape. Writers and poets from all over the world responded to the tragedy. Their writings and poems are collected in an anthology called Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here.
Below is a selected work from Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here.
In the Valley of Love
For Farid ud-Din Attar
Give me a thousand hearts
That I may sacrifice one for each moment
Open the door to each heart that
The Light of love may enter
Burn away the senses
For the truth of pleasures lies
In the truth of loss
Love itself is the flame
From which the self is wrought