This is a scholarly translation of a poem expressing the intensity and immediacy of grief. At a time when the portrayal of Iraq, its people, and the Arabic language is monolithic, al-Bustani's work illuminates the complexity, diversity, and humanity of Iraq as well as Arabic. This translation of Bushra al-Bustani's war poem "Andalusiyat li-Juruh il-'Iraq" ("Andalusian Songs for the Wounds of Iraq") began with our desire and collaborative efforts to make the poem available to English readers. We strongly felt that a poem of this caliber, which also deals with the immediately pressing subject of the U.S.-led war on Iraq, should also convey its message to the Western world, where people may wish to know the war from the pen of an insider. Our efforts were further impelled by the fact that Arabic literature, especially poetry, has been sporadically rendered in English, even during the present times, when the eyes of the world have been invariably cast on the politically troubled Middle East.
This work, therefore, is meant to meet the needs of the target readers, to enhance the profile of Arabic literature in translation, and to spark further efforts to familiarize the world with valuable literary works by Arab writers.