Today, 31 July, he met President of Wrocław, Rafał Dutkiewicz, who says:
Wrocław is not only a meeting place, but also a city of freedom. A city that remembers the dark times of communism and the repression that touched the artists involved in the struggle for freedom. That is why we have engaged in ICORN and we will help supressed writers from all over the world. We will ensure them safety and good conditions for life and creativity.
Wrocław joined ICORN in October 2015 as the second city in Central and Eastern Europe. Krakow has been a member since 2011.
Abdul-Nasser will stay in Wroclaw for two years, where he is granted a scholarship, language lessons, and accommodation, as well as space, networks and necessary help to continue his creative work.
Umar Abdul-Nasser is thirty-two years old, speaks Arabic and good English. He is a poet and musician, who in his work often returns to the subject of peace. He specializes in performance poetry, making own compositions to his musical productions. He is considered an experimental poet and many of his appearances have been published online through YouTube. His poetry was also published in local print newspapers in Mosul prior to June 2014.
One of his latest works can be seen here: A prisoner from Mosul
Hiding in Mosul
Umar's situation was complicated in June 2014 when the Islamic State (IS) proclaimed the caliphate in Mosul, where he lived with his family. The work of Umar and his fellow musicians was deemed by IS to be incompatible with Islamic Law. Since September 2014, the poet was hiding in various places, isolated from family and friends.
Wroclaw waited for the Abdul-Nasser’s arrival for more than a year - it was only in late 2016 that he managed to escape from Mosul and begin preparing for his arrival in Poland.
The Wroclaw Literature House plans to organize presentations of his works so that the inhabitants of the city and the whole of Poland can better get to know their guest. The Literature House is a municipal cultural institution entirely devoted to literary projects and fostering the literature and book related activities in Wrocław & the region, as well as international cooperation.
In the media
31.07.2017 Radio Wroclaw: Wrocław wspiera wolność słowa
31.07.2017 Onet Kultura: Iracki pisarz prześladowany w ojczyźnie znalazł schronienie we Wrocławiu
31.07.2017 Radio Poland: Wrocław gives refuge to Iraqi poet