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The Positioning of Baathist Intellectuals and Writers Before and After 2003: The Case of the Iraqi Poet Abd al-Razzaq Abd al-Wahid

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One of the poets who played a leading role in the propagation of Baathist ideology in Iraq was Abd al-Razzaq Abd al-Wahid. Having published more than forty collections of poetry addressing topics like heroism in war, martyrdom for the nation and poems in praise of the leader, Abd al-Wahid was one of Saddam Hussein's favorite poets. In my article, I will first examine the poet's biography and his political and literary positioning before and after 2003 in relation to his poetic work of the 1980s, then analyze examples of literary criticism issued on this nationalist author. The central question relates to the extent to which the poet's attitude toward his role during the Baathist era and the evaluation of his poetic work by Arab literary critics have changed after the fall of the Saddam regime. A comparison of a number of critical writings on this renowned poet not only offers valuable insights into apologetic literary criticism and Arab intellectual discourse today, but also contributes to an evaluation of Iraq's recent cultural history and its (former) protagonists.


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