Tag Archives: Al Mutanabbi Street

“Three years after the uprising in Yemen and Music Freedom Day”

Three years after the beginning of the Yemeni revolution, little has changed in the country, writes Alwazir [AFP/Getty Images]

February 11th marked the 3rd anniversary of the popular uprising in Yemen, which, after a long drawn-out process lasting almost a year, led to resignation of the long time dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh. According to government’s own figures, more than 2000 unarmed protesters and military defectors, as well as more than 120 children and a total of 22,000 people were wounded over the year long protest.

In a recent piece on Aljazeera, Sanna-based activist and researcher Atiaf Zaid Alwazir writes that “While many positive steps have been taken in the past three years, including the official removal of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh from power, the creation of a transitional unity government, and the completion of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC), a complete break with the past is yet to be seen.” She also co-founded the media advocacy group #SupportYemen.

Our Shahram Aghamir speaks with Alwazir about the socio-political situation in Yemen. What has changed as a result of the historic uprising?

Later in the program, we will mark Music Freedom Day by featuring the prominent Iranian folk band, the Shanbezadeh Ensamble, led by Saeed Shanbehzadeh. The group originates from the southern city of Busher in Iran.

And the program ends with Sinan Antoon reading the poem “A Letter to Al-Mutanabbi Street,” excerpted from the book, “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here”, a project of Beau Beausoleil and Sarah Bodma.

On March 5, 2007, a car bomb exploded on al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad, killing over 30 people and injuring more than 100. Al-Mutanabbi Street is the historic center of Baghdad bookselling, with bookstores, outdoor bookstalls, cafes, and stationery shops. The street has been the heart and soul of the Baghdad’s literary and intellectual community.
An exhibition of Al-Mutanabbi street is currently taking place at the San Francisco Center for the Book. More details can be found here.
Thanks for listening!

VOMENA 2.27.14 – Syria’s “Second Front” and Al Mutanabbi Street

As we approach the third anniversary of the Syrian uprising and the resistance against the genocidal regime of Bashar El Assad, the civil war has now further devolved into factional war. We will talk with Syrian-born Frontline correspondent Muhammad Ali about his latest reporting trip from the town of Al Atarib near Aleppo in northern Syria, which is the subject of his Frontline documentary, “Syria’s Second Front”. Rebel forces are no longer simply fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, they’re also fighting a “war within a war” against a notoriously brutal Islamist group known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). You can watch the report here.

Later in the program, we will have a conversation with local poet, book seller and activist Beau Beausoleil, who asks the deceivingly simple question, “Where does Al Mutanabbi Street start?”

Beau Beausoleil founded the Al Mutanabbi Street art project in 2007 after reading about news of the atrocious bombing that gutted part of the famed street and killed over 30 people, book sellers, printers, writers and poets.

This project, which was started in San Francisco but has since spread its wings across the world, has taken on many different manifestations in various countries, from poetry readings to art exhibits, a film and a book, as well as a print-making project involving some 300 artists. Project founder Beau Beausoleil, who is also the co-editor of the book Al-Mutannabi Streeet Starts Here, came to the KPFA studios to tell us more about this unique project.

To learn more about the book project or see if the exhibit is coming near you, please check out the website here.

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