madly in love with Iraq


My Friend and I

We stood silent for few seconds facing each other; 12 years stood there between us; We’ve aged and changed and went through different experiences. The memories kept on flashing back, our school time, our neighbourhood, the local club and even the first love.

Her first comment entering my flat was that it feels like my family house in Baghdad! We explored the marks of the years on each other; we picked on different silly things and brought the past in an effort to weld the broken bond.

I tortured her for few days with my bad habits; listening to the news during meals, getting hooked to the net for an hour or so and last but not least the Newspaper daily addiction.

After two days, I woke up in the morning and looked at her sleeping soundly, I remembered the nights we spent studying hard on our final year in high school, a sudden urge to hug her filled me; I did and I felt the old V is back, she is with me again and the years just melted away..

We did not speak about Iraq for a while, something very unlike me, probably I was trying to run away again from the sore spot, or maybe my reluctance was due to my fear of her reaction. But how could we? And for how long?

The first test came quicker than I speculated; we were walking along the Thames admiring the Tower Bridge, when a man volunteered to take a photo of us. He did, and unexpectedly asked where we come from, a very rare attitude from an English man! “I come from Iraq” was my reply; he got very interested and said, “Oh, I am going there soon!, which city in Iraq?” I proudly answered “Najaf”, then he looked at my friend questioningly and she answered “I am from New Zealand!”, I felt as if I was hit with a hammer, and quickly corrected her; “She is from Iraq too, and originally from Arbil, but she currently lives in NZ”.

That incident brought out the demons inside me again, and my role as a flame keeper came back with vengeance!

She simply said, that she is happy living in NZ and she would never go back. I have a good job, and I am bringing up my children as I wish them to be in a quite and healthy atmosphere.
I was not convinced, and I made a detour on the original plan of site seeing!

Word into Art/The British Museum

We entered the British Museum on a rainy day, we walked few meters inside only to look at this in the entrance with all the spot lights on:

This is Dia Al Azzawi’s piece standing in here attracting every visitor,

And these below are Hassan Massoudy’s two pieces What do you think?

19 Iraqi artists took part i n this exhibition, more than a third of the whole number of Middle Eastern artist participants; and tell me if you still believe you are from NZ.

Never mind, you lost faith in the Iraqis of those days; let’s go up stairs; aren’t you proud to be a descendant of those people?

TheWinged Bull

The journey hasn’t ended as yet; we moved next door to Paris to continue collecting more proofs of who we are

The Louvre

Hammorabi's Obelisk



After all this, do you think it is right to abandon Iraq and dread being Iraqi?

But hala you are glorifying the past, look at us now, we are killing each other, and everyone is saying that we cannot identify our enemy to fight back.

I don’t care it is more important to identify the friend before the enemy, it is important to know who I am in order not to loose hope.

Zappy; this is for you, and I am trying very hard to be optimistic as I’ve always been..