The city is in flames, caught between a violent dictatorship and an illegal
invasion. For the US it is ‘mission accomplished’. For Iraqis it is the
beginning of a nightmare apocalypse in which over half a million people will die.
Meanwhile the world’s cameras ‘stuff themselves with dust and human flesh.’
Attempts on Death
attempt by the Iraqi poet and diplomat Chawki Abdelamir to understand the historic
destruction of his country and the breaking of its millennia-old past into fragments.
It’s a book about oil and sand, soldiers and civilians, heroes and martyrs, the
innocent and the dead. Drawing on Sumerian mythology, Islamic history, Arab
poetry and the everyday horror of twenty-first century warfare, Chawki tries to
explain how Mesopotamia – the legendary paradise of palm-trees and vineyards,
and the birthplace of human civilisation –is reduced to a delirious hell ‘where
the dead are dying of thirst and the living of madness’. Grim, despairing and
desperate, Attempts on Death
is also a rich, sensual and ultimately