Eli Jelly-Schapiro is an Associate Professor of English at the University of South Carolina. He is the author of Security and Terror: American Culture and the Long History of Colonial Modernity. (February 2020)

NYR DAILY

The Art of Neverending Wars

Rafa Nasiri: War Diary 2 (No, It’s a Dirty War), 1991

The UN-managed economic embargo that starved Iraq of crucial resources from 1990 to 2003 led not only to humanitarian disasters like rising infant mortality, but also to scarcities of basic art materials and instruments. Because of the embargo, Iraqi artists began making their own paper. This urgent creative endeavor contributed to the emergence, during the blockade period, of dafatir—art books that chronicled the continuity of violence while testifying to the possibility of cultural survival or renewal.