Sunday, December 30, 2012

Jibra Ibrahim Jibra

"Al-Amirat(=Princesses) Street" in Al-Mansoor district in Baghdad was a calm quarter with beautiful houses with huge trees and flowering gardens. Jibra Ibrahim Jibra lived and described his life in it in an autobiographical book named "Princesses' Street".

Jibra wrote about his love of walking in the street and thinking about what he would write. He was married to Lamea'a and lived with her in a house in this street. He wrote:
Portrait of Lamea'a by Jibra
"Lamea'a was very Baghdadi and very cosmopolitan, belonging to a mesopotamian era and belonging, at the same time, to the absolute time to whom we are attracted by love. After our stormy marriage, and our long voyage in the sea to the USA in a scholarship in Harvard, it was not strange that I didn't want to go back to Baghdad, since it was the Arabic city in which I saw, in its society and people, in its historical conditions at that time, the possibilities of freedom and modernism."

After 2003 the Princesses' Street had been closed by blocks and became an area were some of the governement members took residence with their armed guards. An explosion occured near the closed and abandoned Jibra's house. The street seems frightening these days.

A photo taken recently near the Princesses' Street
What is left for us is Jibra's books. He wrote about his unexpected meeting with Agatha Christie in Iraq in the late 50s and early 60s were her husband was an archeologist working at the Nemrood site. Jibra visited Agatha Christie many times in those years and saw her while she was writing "Murder in Mesopotamia".

It's 2012, the Princesses' Street is frightening, packed with guns, Jibra is not anymore there, but we still can find, in a corner, a bunch of his writings resting in the sunlight of a cold december. 

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