Following the day-to-day news from Iraq is very disturbing and can be terribly confusing. I HATE the fact that Americans are dying almost every day – I feel powerless and frustrated.
That’s why a story like this is so important: things are different, there are tangible gains, a society that is prohibited from producing art is not a society at all:
- An Iraqi soldier, blood oozing from a wound to his stomach, clambers over the smoldering ruins of a bombed-out building in Baghdad and collapses in a heap, agony etched on his war-weary face.
“Cut,” shouts Oday Rasheed, and so ends the first take of the first film to be shot in postwar Iraq.
Using their own limited funds and with the actors working for free, Rasheed and his crew are shooting “Ghayr Saleh” (“Under Exposure”), a movie examining Baghdad in the immediate aftermath of the U.S.-led war to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
“I wanted to look at what it means to face death,” Rasheed, a 30-year-old first-time director, told Reuters on the set on Friday. “Maybe it could be about any war, but it’s about the experiences of Iraq and especially Baghdad.”
….After nearly three decades of suffering under Saddam’s rule, the pool of writers, cinematographers and other artists in the country has dwindled to a mere puddle, he says.
“I’m so worried about the arts in Iraq right now. There is too much old-fashioned thinking going on and no one realizes how desperate the situation is,” he says, pushing his long black hair back over his head.
“As we try to rebuild the country physically, we also need to rebuild Iraq’s artistic heritage.”
Rasheed sees “Under Exposure” as one small element in that process of rebuilding, and he’s proud to be at the head of the line of artists trying to work in a post-Saddam world. [Reuters]
Art is air – now Iraq can start to breathe.