On May 7, 2012, Hillah in Babil province, just south of Baghdad, held a spring cultural festival. They used to be common events under Saddam Hussein, and a member of the provincial council has tried to bring them back. The councilman complained however that local clerics and religious parties pushed not to include the traditional dancing and music that the event was known for. The Associated Press reported that this exclusion led to a lackluster response by the citizenry.
|People looking at paintings as part of an art exhibit during Babil's spring festival, May 7, 2012 (AP)|
|A tent containing a book fair held as part of the festival (AP)|
|A poet recites some of her work (AP)|
Jakes, Lara, “Babylon Festival: Iraq Arts Festival Beset By Controversy,” Associated Press, 5/11/12