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Iraq's Memory Foundation: Context in Culture

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This painting moves from Iraq's present to its distant past.

This painting juxtaposes Iraq's tumultuous present with its ancient past. Iraq Memory Foundation hide caption

toggle caption Iraq Memory Foundation
The Iraq Memory Foundation project has collected a wide range of artworks to preserve

The Iraq Memory Foundation project has collected a wide range of artworks to preserve. Iraq Memory Foundation hide caption

toggle caption Iraq Memory Foundation

When a brutal regime ends, those who survive are often left with feelings of guilt, anger and confusion. With the fall of Saddam Hussein, a group of Iraqi-born activists have created the Iraq Memory Foundation to help Iraqis come to terms with their past.

The project, funded by the U.S. government, was established a few months before the American-led invasion of Iraq. Now the Memory Foundation is gathering works of art and archiving millions of documents from the era of Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime.

The group is also recording oral histories, which it hopes to someday feature in a Baghdad museum. Executive director Hassan Mneimneh says Iraqi citizens are telling a diverse range of stories. And he's hopeful that the oral histories, combined with artifacts and works of art, will help put the reign of Saddam Hussein into the context of Iraq's broader history.

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