Baghdadis Live with Constant Threat of Violence

The House of Iraqi Poetry has organized a number of cultural events on Karrada’s sidewalks and in its coffee shops. “What is happening today is insane. We are risking our lives by coming here [to Karrada]. We should move to the coffee shop by the end of the street as death has yet to reach it,” Saray added.

Sadness and fear were clear in his voice, unlike the young filmmaker Mouhannad Hayyal’s voice, which was filled with defiance and challenge.

“Death is everywhere in the country, but being scared of sitting in a coffee shop won’t make life here any safer,” he told Al-Monitor.

Hayyal meets his colleagues at Cafe Ridha Alwan to discuss their film projects.

“IS could drop a bomb on my house any time, and I’ll be dead. Coming back to the coffee shop everyday is the biggest defiance of terrorism and death hovering over the country,” he said.

Nevertheless, death and horror manage to strip life away from the places they visit. Indeed, after May 10, Karrada seemed empty, except for the owners of imported clothes shops.

Meanwhile, Cafe Ridha Alwan, where people used to line up to be seated, had no more than 10 visitors.

To encourage people to revisit his coffee shops, the owner posted photos of the famous writers and artists who are regulars at his coffee shop on his Facebook page.

Karrada is not the only city losing dozens of people to bombings, and it's expected that the May bombings won’t be the last. Because of the mismanagement of the country’s security dossier, bad omens abound in Iraq.

(Baghdad image via Shutterstock)

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