Thursday, May 20, 2004

I went to Stanford yesterday to watch the showing of the documentary About Baghdad. (thanks for losing my car Nirvana). I was delighted to introduce my friend Sinan, who is one of the directors/producers, along with my friend Bassam. The movie chronicles Sinan's return to Baghdad after years in exile, and it focuses on living (and dying under Saddam), and living (and dying) under US occupation. I have talked about the documentary before, and have seen parts of it before it was put together in its final form. Having seen it in full yesterday, I can very strongly and enthusiastically recommend it to all of you. If I always say that you can not understand Iraq without reading Hanna Batatu's book, The Old Social Classes and the Rrevolutionary Movements of Iraq, I now can add that your understanding of the Iraq mess will be substantially expanded and enhanced by watching this important documentary. I really hope it will get a mass release; they are now in negotiation with PBS. They do not provide a selective potrayal of Iraqi public opinion; you see Iraqi public opinion in its diversity, richness, sophistication, and eloquence. They let the Iraqis speak for themselves, and as both Sinan and Bassam are gifted story-tellers, the narrative is extremeley skillfully woven together. It is shown to the background of excellent Iraqi traditional music in the backgroud, and the CD is available through the website (I would not be plugging this if it is a commercial enteriprise--it is not. It is not for profit--unlike Bush's colonial enterprise which I do not plug on the site).