What is going on in Iraq since the 2003 invasion and, by extension, since long before during Operation Desert Storm is in many ways a paradigm—an ever-evolving view into a society that has, for internal and external reasons, become one of the most turbulent areas in the Middle East and in the world. Baghdad is an often-discussed topic because it is a very cosmopolitan city; represented on its street and in its buildings are every point of view on the current military action and it volatile past. While it would be an exercise in tunnel-vision to consider this area of the Middle East without consideration for the conversation it has become a player in, it is somehow appropriate. Given the exorbitant amount of attention that Iraq and particularly Baghdad are subject to—in military interplay, in the media, on a global scale for what it has come to represent—this is exactly what is happening. We are slowly building walls around Baghdad, just as we did to Germany at the end of WWII (for example), because it is easier to deal with it once we classify it as a ‘lost cause' or fallen measure.
[...] We see the side effects of it—numerous literary and cinematic works that chronicle the incongruities. Unless we re-evaluate the methods in which we deal with a foreign threat, there will be no end to conflict. Isolationism doesn't work—Iraq and Baghdad are proof of this truth. The walls constructed around Baghdad must be felled; there must be an influx of ideas and influences with a singular common goal. The Baghdad Crucible is slowly building, and has been for over a decade. Only once we realize that Baghdad, like any other city [...]
[...] Baghdad Diaries Al-Radi traces the history of Iraq as the US has played a preeminent role in its formation and continual development. From her privileged standpoint, she extrapolates upon the human interactions accompanied with war and the effects, long- and short-term, of the US-instigated embargo. Through her voice we come to view Baghdad in ways that our media had fallen short: it is war-torn, and many problems plague everyday life, forcing the average Iraqi into playing a game of survival. [...]
[...] By treating a nation or an issue as an exclusive occurrence one (party) sets the standard for an isolationist response—this is dangerous in that it could accomplish whatever objective it operated towards, and so be deemed ‘effective.' The perpetuation of this cycle is what we are observing in Baghdad, and as we follow Al-Radi and her chronicling of the events from their insurrection we see that nothing has changed. Reading her responses to the more recent military activity in Iraq, it seems as if it were just an extension of events that came to pass roughly a decade ago. She puts is in the mindset to understand the exchange of force that is occurring within the crucible of Baghdad—a slowly boiling pressure-cooker. About Baghdad Antoon's documentary film About Baghdad, in which he also stars, is a very inclusive look into the status quo within Baghdad. [...]
[...] The Iraq shown in Baghdad Burning is a very honest one in that it disregards political fairness—instead it gives emotion, infinitely more representative of the current situation. Baghdad Burning is filled with the symptoms of a society's slow decline as it collapses upon itself—TV stations are censored, curfews are enforced, secret militias roam freely. In one instance, Kalashnikov bullets were stuffed into envelopes and delivered in the night to entire neighborhoods, warning inhabitants to leave or suffer the consequences. The war has reached a level that can no longer be waged upon. [...]
[...] As Antoon travels the country, a returning Iraqi expatriate, he offers insights and nuances of the Iraqi lifestyle. His interviews—with prominent business owners, American troops, local Iraqi leaders, and common citizens—displays the gamut of sentiments concerning the US occupation of Iraq. It is set in the early months of 2003, just after the fall of Hussein's regime and his fleeing to Tikrit. It is clear that Antoon strives to incorporate all facets and opinions concerning the US occupation, and is successful in his efforts. [...]
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