Patrons of the Newport Beach Central Library have never had to flee from bomb blasts en route to picking up their reading materials. But in a special program Saturday afternoon, the library paid tribute to a city where culture comes with a higher risk.
The Levantine Cultural Center, a Los Angeles-based group dedicated to celebrating the art, music and literature of the Middle East, hosted “Memorial for Mutanabbi Street” at the library on Avocado Avenue. The program commemorated the first anniversary of a terrorist bombing on Mutanabbi Street, a street in Baghdad with a large number of bookstores and cafes.
Former Baghdad residents Suad Brandt and Hamied Al-Ansari started the afternoon by telling the crowd about their memories of living in the Iraqi capital and their thoughts on the ongoing war. Afterward, the Saadoun Al-Bayati Ensemble performed live Iraqi music.