Friday, May 08, 2009

Loneliness of Babel Theatre


I entered into a world of another time. From my very first steps I felt isolated from my place and time. A thrilling lust of what I may find was running on my spines. What I feared the most is that a wild dog may suddenly jump in front of me and started his/her angry defense on his place that I invaded. All I was hearing was sounds of birds.
I found a stairs. I stopped. Took a breath. Went up to see this:



When I finally reached this my heart sank deep into some sorrow when I saw the theatre backstage. I remember seeing the Algerian musical group practicing here their piece of music from Sahara before they would perform their piece at this theatre stage on that same day in the 90s when the security man asked me to leave Babel as soon as possible or he would do something "BAD" to me that would make me regret my intensions. My intensions were that I ask the Algerian group to give me some notes of their music pieces. Or just to talk to them.
But it was prohibited in the previous regime to talk to a non-Iraqi without permission from the regime.
An Algerian violinist came and saluted me. He must have heard what we were saying. He invited me in the backstage. I went and saluted all the musicians and I told them about my love to Algeria and to Sahara music. They told me that they got no notes to give me, and that they play without notes. They asked me to play a piece of Iraqi music for them before their show would start. I played in their Aud the well known Iraqi song "Wif Raghum… Bech chain…(=and their departure… had made me crying…)". I left the backstage wishing them good show. Saw the angry security man who told me to leave Babel at once. I left at once with sorrow.

Seeing the backstage destroyed was better than seeing it living with Saddam's security men. At least the backstage can take the shape it wants. This is an early stage of freedom when some chaos rules the place. Let us just hope that order will come as fast as possible and theatre backstage would be full again of the chaos of artists and not the chaos of neglect.

From that scene my tour continued to see the whole theatre. I didn't know whether to feel sorry or lucky that I was alone at that time. This big theatre which makes me feel tiny.


After leaving the theatre, and leaving my sense of anxiety, that sence which came from that sad annoying memory, and the fear of encountering a wild dog, after leaving all that I looked at the theatre from a distance and felt strange of how much it is neglected. No sign, nor any guide to tell you about its history. But in spite of that, it looks wonderful. Take care of yourself dear theatre. Let the 2 fallen angels of Babel taking care of you too.



11 comments:

Khalid from iraqiblogupdates.blogspot.com/ said...

Sami,

Thank you so much for this intersting post and laso thanks for the pictures. I share all your hopes that life will be restored in the Babylon theatre and a renovation project will begin soon.

As to your "Wif Raghum… Bech chain" it sounds really so loud in my ears that I could see for myself that I miss all the good things in Iraq.

Take care,

Anonymous said...

Oh dear you have moved to the dark side, and the force was so strong with you!

Jeffrey said...

Sami,

Very good writing and photos. I was reminded of an Algerian author that everyone knows, Albert Camus, and an entry I wrote a while back that cites both Camus and an Algerian-American blogger named Nouri:

Wind at Djemila.

Your entry also reminded me of Camus' essay.

*

Jeffrey said...

Sami,

Hey, if you have something to say to me, just say it. Believe me, I can take it. It's probably not good to repress your feelings too much. Let's clear the air, okay? Something is bothering you, so what is it?

*

Sami said...

Jeffrey,

The first time I saw that site in Babel, of the theatre, I remembered Shershal and Tipaza, that olace in Algeria that Camus used to describe in his writtings.

Thank you for your care and sorry for being late to comment on your clever comment.

Regarding your second comment Jeffery, I want to thank you for your fankiness. What made me feel not at ease was the context you put one day one of my posts, that one on Al Rasheed street and the hair cut and you linked it in a way to what happened with Presedent Bush and that Journalist. I just don't like the political context.

Offcourse Jeffrey you are free to write whatever you like in your blog. It is just doesn't make me at ease to talk politics.

You are always wellcomed Jeffrey and all others to this blog. This blog I hope would be always intitled to talk about the bright side, the beautful side of Iraq.

Thank you for your frankiness Jeffrey.

Take care.

Jeffrey said...

Sami,

Regarding your second comment Jeffery, I want to thank you for your fankiness. What made me feel not at ease was the context you put one day one of my posts, that one on Al Rasheed street and the hair cut and you linked it in a way to what happened with Presedent Bush and that Journalist. I just don't like the political context.Okay, now I understand. Here's the post:

That Great "Arab Hero" ... um ... What's His Name?--

I really don't remember the name of the journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush, but I wrote that entry to show that in Iraq there are many "silent heroes" like yourself. I meant it as a compliment to you.

I wrote:

But if you're interested in learning about those who are the silent heroes of Iraq, you can still find them in the blogosphere. Spend the day, for example, with Sami, a psychiatrist currently living in Baghdad who has been on our blogroll for a long time. In one of his latest entries, "Happy Poetic Hair Cut," you will learn more about the daily life in Iraq than you ever will from the journalist whose name we can no longer remember.--

I'm sorry if you disapproved of having an introduction to your blog entry mixed with a current news item with political dimensions.

I was wondering why you had become so cool of late. I couldn't figure it out. Thanks for telling me. I don't think I need to tell a psychologist how important directness and communication is, right?

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Jeffrey said...

Sami,

Hey, you might like to see a few of my photos.

Where I was born and raised:

Greetings from Iowa!--

Where I live now:

Greetings from New York City.--

Enjoy.

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Jeffrey said...

Sami,

The first time I saw that site in Babel, of the theatre, I remembered Shershal and Tipaza, that olace in Algeria that Camus used to describe in his writtings--

That is amazing, isn't it? We both thought of Camus.

*

Don Cox said...

Those buildings look very new. Presumably they are reconstructions of the original ancient buildings. I wonder how accurate they are?

Sami said...

Yes you are right Don Cox they seem very new and it is said that it was renewed previously in a non scientific way.

Thank you for stimulating me to publish more posts. the next two posts are a trial of an answer to your important question.

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