Book-selling on Mutanabbi Street: texts from vital sidewalks
December 9, 2014 5:41 PM   Subscribe

Al-Mutanabbi is an open book, bearing symbols that are deeply etched into the body of today’s Baghdad. The street has no endpoint.

It does not start from Rasheed Street and end at the statue of Abu Tayeb al-Mutanabbi – after whom the street was named – or at the Tigris River. It is a text that carries names, memories, and accounts scattered along the ground or on the wooden stands that cover the most famous pavements in the Iraqi capital. As you walk onto the street, you see stacks of books carrying familiar titles, and others with odd titles you would not expect to find every Friday morning. Frequent visitors of the street come from al-Karkh, Rusafa, and other provinces of Iraq to find valuable book editions. They are attracted by the sounds of vendors: a book for 1,000 or 2,000 Iraqi dinars (less than $2). For these sellers, the books are no more than a business deal or transaction. The writings on old cloth banners or empty flour bags they use to separate their goods are of no relevance to them.
posted by standardasparagus (4 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
This is an excellnt read, offering an insight to the cultural life of Bagdad rather than Iraq as quagmire. So nice to get a feel for the life there, and the persistence of peaceful and long term intellectual pursuits.
posted by Oyéah at 6:08 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Al-Mutanabbi previously.
posted by languagehat at 5:50 AM on December 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Al-Matunabbi elsewhere.
posted by BWA at 10:38 AM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Panegyrics what a good word!
posted by Oyéah at 10:57 AM on December 10, 2014

« Older Marie Tharp's map   |   Girls Fight Out Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments