Culture

Iraq film seller laments Bollywood decline

by Prashant Rao Note: This article was published by AFP on June 20, 2012. It can be found in full here. BAGHDAD (AFP) – Adil Hamid Khalaf is like many Iraqi traders, with his tiny store stocked to the brim with VCDs and DVDs. What sets him apart is he can extol, in halting Hindi [...]


Christmas in Iraq

Christmas in Iraq

A soldier stands atop the Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, in east Baghdad, as congregants attend Christmas mass. The church was struck by a suicide car bomb on July 12, 2009, that left four people dead and 21 wounded. (Click on the photo for a larger version)


Mheibes – a multimedia essay on Ramadan in Iraq

Mheibes - a multimedia essay on Ramadan in Iraq

On August 10, I went with a couple of colleagues to check out Iraqi men play a game of Mheibes during Ramadan in Adhamiyah. Adhamiyah was playing Saba Abkar, an adjacent neighbourhood. TANGENT: A version of the video of the bottom filmed entirely on the iPhone 4 has been shortlisted for the Grand Prize at [...]


AFP’s coverage of the US withdrawal from Iraq

Agence France-Presse has put out several stories in recent days about the US withdrawal from Iraq, and now that it is complete, I wanted to put together a one-stop-shop of all the articles AFP has published. Without further ado, a summary of AFP‘s coverage of the US withdrawal from Iraq: December 18, 2011 US forces [...]


Where Iraq stood in August 2010

Where Iraq Stood in August 2010 – RTE World Report August 2010 was a busy month in Iraq. Along with US forces gearing up to declare an official end to combat operations, and get troop numbers below 50,000 (from a peak of around 170,000 during “the surge”), a suicide bomber blew himself up amid a [...]


Mheibes – A traditional Iraqi game during Ramadan

Mheibes is a traditional game playing during the evening in Iraq throughout Ramadan. This short video, filmed in Baghdad, features a match between Adhamiyah in north Baghdad and nearby Saba Abkar. This is my first attempt at some form of video journalism — I used only my Canon EOS 550D and iPhone 4. Please let [...]


‘South Asian Safari’ opens English retirees’ minds

by Prashant Rao Note: This article was originally published by AFP on October 22, 2006. It can be found here. LEICESTER, England (AFP) – Asaf Hussain takes retirees from the countryside on a cultural “safari” of one of England’s most ethnically-diverse cities — and is finding himself increasingly in demand. “The 34 people sitting in front [...]


Disappearing Tradition: Najaf abaya makers in decline

Disappearing Tradition: Najaf abaya makers in decline

by Prashant Rao Note: This article was originally published by AFP on March 9, 2011. It can be found here. NAJAF, Iraq (AFP) – Known across the region for its fine texture, the Najafi abaya is worn by all manner of VIPs from officials to oil-rich sheikhs. But the men who produce the hand-made cloth, [...]


Australian film-extra-turned-novelist eyes Booker glory

by Prashant Rao Note: This article was originally published by AFP on October 13, 2008. It can be found here. LONDON (AFP) — Which is more impressive? Turning a 500-word short story into a nearly 700-page novel short-listed for the Booker Prize, or transforming yourself from a television extra into an acclaimed author? For Australian [...]


Najaf rushes to get ready as Islamic culture capital

Najaf rushes to get ready as Islamic culture capital

by Prashant Rao Note: This article was originally published by AFP on March 15, 2011. It can be found here. NAJAF, Iraq (AFP) – A half-billion-dollar effort to showcase Iraq’s holiest Shiite city to the world is coming down to the wire as many contracts remain unsigned and funds are being hastily re-allocated. Preparations for [...]