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Winternachten The Hague 2008

Winternachten 2008

Wed 16 - Tue 22 January 2008


Shabandar Café - Grand Café Oriental

10 Euro, incl. eten en drinken. Reserveren bij Gemak, Paviljoensgracht 20, 070 3381200.
Shabandar Café in Bagdad
Shabandar Café in Bagdad

Shabandar Café is a programme by Gemak, the new centre for western and non-western art, politics and debate, of The Hague Gemeentemuseum and the Vrije Academie. With Shabandar Café Gemak links up with the Winternachten festival. Gemak is named after the famous meeting place of artists and intellectuals in Bagdad. Enjoy the most refined forms of Iraqi culture: live classical Arab Moqam music, an Iraqi storyteller and poetr, a short Iraqi documentary on Café Shabandar, tea and the tastiest Iraqi snacks.

The exhisition space of Gemak has been decorated for the occasion in that of the original café, destroyed in March 2007. Honorary guests: the Arab writers taking part in festival Winternachten. An English-Arabic language programme, compiled by the Iraqi visual artist Rashad Selim.
For more information on the programme see In English and Arabic

Shabandar is the name of a café on Al Mutanabi Street
where for decades Baghdad's cultural elites met
discussing books, poetry and politics
or dropping in for a coffee after visiting the book vendors' stalls
on the busy street outside

Everybody interested in books came here
to buy them in the good years
to sell them during the sanctions
to be transported by their covers
if they were penniless

On the 5th of March 2007
one car bomb attack among many
destroyed Shabandar
and the book market outside

Shabandar Café has left Baghdad
even if its walls are rebuilt
5000 years of urban culture
scattered to the four corners of the Earth