The Monument by Kanan Makiya
Art and Vulgarity in Saddam Hussein's Iraq

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Synopsis

In Baghdad, an enormous monument nearly twice the size of the Arc de Triomphe towers over the city. Two huge forearms emerge from the ground, clutching two swords that clash overhead. Those arms are enlarged casts of those of Saddam Hussein, showing every bump and follicle. The "Victory Arch" celebrates a victory over Iran (in their 8-year long war) that never happened. The Monument is a study of the interplay between art and politics, of how culture, normally an unquestioned good, can play into the hands of power with devastating effects. Kanan Makiya uses the culture invented by Saddam Hussein as a window into the nature of totalitarianism and shows how art can become the weapon of dictatorship.
 

About Kanan Makiya

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Kanan Makiya directs the Iraq Research Project at Harvard University, and is a professor at Brandies University. He was also involved with the US's planning of the war in Iraq.
 
Published April 3, 2004 by I. B. Tauris. 176 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Arts & Photography, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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This reissue of Makiya's well-received 1991 study inevitably addresses a different world than the one in which it was conceived, written and first disseminated.

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