Bombs Then Music In Baghdad

In this video Karim Wasfi, an Iraqi symphony cellist and former chief conductor of Iraq’s National Symphony Orchestra, plays an impromptu concert at the site of a car bombing. The attack, which took place in the upscale Mansour district of Baghdad last week —an area that Wasfi regularly walks through— left 20 people dead. Wasfi, in defiance of the act of terror, returned to the blast site with his cello to show Iraqis that acts of beauty, creativity and refinement can defy acts of terror. He played “Melancholy in Baghdad,” a song of his own composition, quickly drawing an audience of soldiers, students and passersby.

Wasfi’s message of strength and civility resonated with a group of students in the crowd, who returned the next day, to the same spot, to play Iraq’s national anthem; both performances have since gone viral. As this video and Wasfi demonstrate, music can be used as a counternarrative to acts of extremism and terror.

Bombs Then Music In Baghdad


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