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Seated at tables with glasses of tea in the heart of Baghdad's bookshop district, the customers of Shabandar cafe have watched 100 years of Iraq's tumultuous history pass by. Since opening its doors a century ago, the establishment has become a hub of Baghdad's intellectual life, drawing poets and politicians alike to its wooden benches and photo-lined walls.Khashali – who sports a traditional white robe and beard of the same color – took over in 1963 and made a decision that would prove defining: he banned all games, including cards and dominoes, from the cafe.The diversity of the faces of the men and women lining the walls is echoed nowadays by the varied crowd that still packs into Shabandar each morning.
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