Leeds film festival: About Baghdad

About Baghdad is a video collage of interviews and scenes from the streets of Baghdad shorted after the 2003 war (after? is it over?). Sinan Antoon, an Iraqi writer and poet who fleed to the US during Saddam’s regime, revisits his home and talks to other Iraqi people about their views. This was really interesting. What wasn’t suprising was that a majority of the views of Iraqi people are very different from how the mainstream press report them. They are of course very happy that Saddam is gone, and largely thankful to America for this but they basically feel that they need to be running things themselves now, and if this doesn’t happen soon there will be rebellion. Remember these are interviews from a year ago. Also remember all the violence going on currently and how it’s portrayed as a small number of “insurgents” who are going against the wishes of the real Iraqi people.

The average level of intelligence of the Iraqi people seems very high and they fully understand the bias of the mainstream press. Of course the film makers will have sought out the cleverest with the most interesting things to say, but still. The comparison to the ignorant American soldier they interviewed would be hilarious if he wasn’t the one with the most guns. Interestingly though, the “minority” American soliders interviewed (who, being on average much poorer, might largely be in the army for the salary rather than a misplaced sense of “duty”) seemed to have a better idea of what was going on and real reasons behind it all.

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