June 28, 2009

A Street in Baghdad...


Being someone who is interested in landscapes, architecture and streets, I combine this with my love for walking...There is much you can discover when you walk as opposed to drive...
Use those legs, they are your best vehicle.

Walking also gives you a glimpse, a feel into the atmosphere of any given place. I use observation and all of my senses. The smells, the noise, the conversations, the expression on the faces, the pace, the state of the buildings, the street itself, its pavement, its ramps, its corners, its alleys, its walls...every single detail is important to complete the experience...of walking and to give it a new dimension...using it as another lesson, another insight...

Those of you out there who are familiar with Baghdad's streets and neighborhoods, and who are of my generation, this is not quite applicable to those born during the sanction years or just a little before, because they would have no recollection whatsoever...and of course this is not applicable to those who never visited Baghdad, or only landed there in 2003 or later...

Those who knew Baghdad of before, will attest to the excellent urban planning, the mapping of the city, the architecture of the houses, the buildings...actually Baghdad was known to have one the best school of Architecture and Urban Planning in the Middle East. Some even called this city, the Paris of the Middle East.

I recall my daily walks by the river's bank...usually in the late afternoon. Stretches of walking paths along the river, adorned with red flowers, trees...am talking of the 80's here. The streets were clean, well kept, but most importantly safe...

During the sanction years, the "dictatorship" exerted much effort to keep things as they were, in terms of maintaining the same levels of order, cleanliness and safety...but with most things being unauthorized by the U.N sanctions committee, keeping that same level was invariably difficult...

But, it was still safe and relatively clean...compared to...compared to today.

As I mentioned before, one of my pass times is watching youtube videos, on Iraq.
Every time I get very homesick, I search for a video, that I hope will bring me some comfort...

I stumbled upon this one, below. But before you rush to watch it, I recommend that you walk with me first...the way I do...
As I mentioned right at the beginning of my post...there is more than one way to walk...

You can just quickly and impatiently listen to the main voice, swiftly go through the whole scene and rush to move on onto something else ..

Or, you let me lead you through the experience, the insight , and you take your time to observe just like I do...

So I suggest that you focus on the whole thing -- observe the street, its curves, its ramps, its walls...listen to the conversations, examine the faces, watch out for the details...feel the place.

So, I invite you to walk with me, through some of the streets of Baghdad...









Painting : Iraqi artist, Nadhim Hamed.

Youtube : Hoda Abdel Hamid /Al Jazeera - Residents of a Baghdad afraid to return.
26 June 09.