Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hometown Baghdad

Note: There is a series of these "Hometown Baghdad" videos by chattheplanet, a young Iraqi video artist and professional engineer who cannot find work even though he has the skills his country so badly needs. I will post more of them. In the meantime you can find them at YouTube by searching for "Hometown Baghdad".

This came from Soheil Najm yesterday. We thank him for the translations of poetry from Iraqi poets he so carefully and courageously sends to us every few days, and pray for his safety.

A Small Circle

Three or four days of a week I go down town, knowing that I may die at any moment. It is a small circle from my house at a district south of Baghdad, to my office in Hayfa Street in the ministry of culture where I work in "Gilgamesh" the journal that is dedicated to the Iraqi culture in English. I have been working here only for last four years and before that I was out of work because persons like me were considered from the opposition and no formal jobs were available for them. Normally I can reach my office in half an hour, but in these days, because of the horrible deeds of the terrorists, where you may encounter an explosion in every turning, sometimes I need two hours or more to get to my office or at other times I decide to go back rather than wasting my time in traffic jams. Living in Baghdad, at this critical time is so difficult since there are no places for you or your family to go to have fun or enjoy yourselves, no cinemas, no theaters as in the old times in Baghdad. Besides, the destruction that was wrought on electricity left us with severe power shortage. One or two hours of electricity a day is not enough even to make you think or contemplate peacefully. I believe I am not a hero, and I sometimes may envy my immigrated friends who are in other places of the world, far from car bombs and rabid killers, but I say to myself many times that this is my destiny. It is a real conflict, I know that; nevertheless I have to deal with it. More over, deep down I am convinced that I must stand with the people around me in order not to surrender and let the reactionary forces take the reins and I must have some responsibility in spite of these risks.

Soheil Najm
Baghdad 1/14th/ 2008


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved this.

9:21 AM  

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