Al-Mutanabbi
Street Broadsides
  Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition project
––one of only ten in the world––

The Diameter of the Bomb

Artist's Statement

I support the freedom to educate oneself, the freedom to pursue one’s own interest, to follow one’s own curiosity, without risk to life and limb, nor the life and limb of one’s children and parents. I saw in Al-Mutanabbi Street a striving towards that freedom. I cannot pretend to understand what is happening or why. I don’t know how to place a value on that freedom in order to know at what point the cost is too high. Death and Life are both huge. Generations of freedom into the future are huge. The pain of being wounded, living in constant fear, grieving for a lost child, a father, a mother, a lover, is huge. The ability to raise your children and grandchildren with all of the hope for the best education and opportunity the world can offer is huge.

In this poem, the violence of the bomb blast reaches to infinity. Freedom to pursue happiness and develop one’s ideas and passions can do that, too. For me, this raises questions related to book burning, suppression, and quality of life without freedoms. “Who thought it was a good idea to blow up Mutanabbi Street, and why?”

Kim Vanderheiden – designed concept and layout, drew image

...I believe, along with Elie Wiesel,* that without memory, there is no future— bearing witness and telling our stories is our essential human offering to those who follow.” From “On old-fashioned play and fear and all that,” by Bill Denam

We must love Yehuda Amichai and Chana Bloch for gifting us The Diameter of the Bomb—this very short, very powerful, very human reflection and Kim Vanderheiden for her visual rendering of the poem.

We gift it now to you and ask that you take it into your own hearts and gift it, in turn, to another—creating, then, a different kind of expanding diameter . . .