Where is the Iraqi War Literature?
Damascus, Asharq Al Awsat – With a few exceptions of Iraqi writers and artists, the continuous bloodshed in Iraq has failed to elicit any poetry or prose from the Arab men of letters. While political writers expounded and analyzed, the literary writers and artists did not channel this harrowing Arab tragedy into creativity, and neither did they attempt to engage with it. Some attribute this absence to the obscurity of the events taking place, while others fear that their expression might be misconstrued as advocating or commemorating the dictator’s bygone era [by writing against the occupation]. So many different reasons all converge into one question: Where is the Iraqi war literature? What is the cause behind this indifference and when will the pens start to actively recount all that is taking place? How is it that the 33-day war in Lebanon acted as a catalyst that inspired artists to express themselves staging plays, setting up exhibitions and publishing books, whereas Iraq has endured three years of seemingly endless suffering and yet has nothing to show for it? Throughout the centuries, writers, artists and intellectuals have played a major role during times of war. Some glorify heroes and leaders, some express their suffering and outrage while others try to make sense of the events taking place.