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As Baghdad life improves, some still seek refuge in its past

Raya Jalabi writes for Reuters:

From his 13th-floor balcony in central Baghdad, Salam Atta Sabri likes to reminisce about his city’s storied past – the years before Saddam Hussein and the U.S.-led invasion which forever changed it.

On an overcast afternoon in spring, the 55-year-old artist pointed to stalwarts of Baghdad’s historic center such as the 13th century palace of the Abbasid caliphs, and the city’s ambling, literary heart around Mutanabbi Street.

Over coffee, he leafed through recent ink drawings of the city. “I remember walking those very streets when I was a boy… before everything changed.”

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