• I didn’t know what to expect at the Imperial War Museum in London. I had passed it many times during my visits to London, but had never gone in, and it was not on my top ten things to do list; it was more on my “oops, I am leaving London and I wonder what is in that museum” list. The Imperial Museum is a fascinating place that all educators should go see, both alone and while teaching children. Human history is the history of war. This is a tragic but true fact of life. Upon entering the Museum, one sees the wreck of a car. It is a hulking, rusted wreck of a modern car, probably a Volvo. It appears to have been crushed in a junk yard and the viewer immediately begins to wonder what it is doing at the entrance of this museum. Two docents hover nearby, ready to explain. Like an onion, the history of the car is revealed as layer after layer is unfolded.
    The car was parked in a well-known book market in Bagdad. A car bomb exploded nearby. The air was sucked out of the car by the vacuum created by the explosion. Glass shattered. Thirty-eight people were killed by the blast. Many of those who were wounded later died of their injuries. Others were emotionally damaged forever, including one bookseller who lost four children in the blast.
    The blast was so unpopular that no one ever claimed responsibility for it. Who were the intended victims? Did it target the Shia who dominated the neighborhood? Did it aim for the intellectuals who shopped there for books in Arabic, Persian, English, French, Italian and other languages? Was it a message for the secular Iraqis who read books instead of the Koran? Did it aim to call attention to the origin of the street where it exploded, Al-Mutanabbi, a street named after a great Iraqi 9th century poet who once claimed that the words in his poems were greater than the words of the Koran?
    Officially, the car is known as “Baghdad, 5 March 2007: A New Display with Jeremy Deller” and is from his “It Is What It Is” exhibit which was on display in various venues in the United States before being donated by the New Museum of New York. More information is available at .