Artist: 'Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Bayati
Confronting Bodies: Iraqi government
Date of Action: 1950-1958
Specific Location: Iraq
Description of Artwork: Al-Bayati's poems expressed Marxist and anti-imperialist themes. Some also criticized the romanticism expressed in Arabic literature.
Description of Incident: Al-Bayati published "Culture of the Homeland" in 1950 and "Broken Pitchers" in 1953, while teaching at Baghdad Higher Teachers College. His collections offended the press laws passed in 1950, banning "irresponsible criticism of the government." After publishing "Broken Pitchers" he was removed from his position at the teachers college and sentenced to a concentration camp, from which he escaped and went into exile. He returned to Iraq after the revolution in 1958, but was stripped of his citizenship after visiting Egypt, whose policies the Iraqi government opposed, in 1964.
Results of Incident: Al-Bayati returned to Iraq after the Ba'athist Party came to power in 1968. He worked with the Ministry of Culture and Information until his self-exile, in response to the invasion of Kuwait, in 1990.
Source: Censorship, A World Encyclopedia, ed. D. Jones
Submitted By: NCAC