Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Céline Dion: They love her in Iraq.

The Middle East Media Research Institute has an fascinating article by Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli on the subject of the Revival of Cultural Life in Iraq:
The fall of the Saddam regime in April 2003 has brought with it unprecedented cultural vitality, despite an environment affected by constant acts of violence and terrorism, often directed against those who want to lead Iraq out of the dark tunnel of the past. Indeed, and ironically, it is partially the chaotic climate associated with weak or absent state institutions that has permitted the unprecedented freedom of cultural and artistic creativity. Although many writers, thinkers, novelists, artists and intellectuals fled or were forced into exile during the Saddam regime, many remained. Now, after years of being kept silent, the varied political, nationalist, and ethnic groups, are able, finally, to express themselves without restrictions or censorship but, regrettably, not entirely without fear.
The Wrecking Ball sums up the report's info about theatre in Iraq, but it's all pretty interesting -- even taking into account MEMRI's alleged spin. (Céline even makes an appearance in a literary journal.) At the very least, the report is a reminder of how lucky we are to be able to put on plays without fear of being shot to death, like the actors Fu'ad Radhi and Haidar Jawad were this Spring.

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