Tag Archives: Middle East

Life After The Fall of Hussein

Join novelist Sinan Antoon and journalist Leila Fadel as they discuss the documentary, Life after the Fall, directed by Kasim Abid, which follows the daily life of a family in modern day Iraq after the fall of Sadam Hussein.

As one family member says, “After the fall, we would sit on our balcony and talk about the future of Iraq. We had high hopes… But in the end everything failed. We didn’t benefit at all. The country didn’t get better or rebuilt, it just got destroyed some more.”

According to Sinan Antoon, there are very few documentaries like this one where Iraqis get to speak about their feelings and desires for more than 30 seconds in American media. “It’s so rare that you actually get to see Iraqis who are not terrorists or extremists.”

As a journalist, Leila Fadel wanted to document what it was like to live and survive invasion occupation. “I told the stories of grave-diggers… I told the stories of pregnant women trying to have their babies without getting shot on roads after curfew… I told the story through marriages and divorces…”

Key to documenting the Iraqi experience is living outside the protected “green zone” and interviewing as many Iraqi people as possible. Says Antoon: “Iraqi’s are like other humans on the planet… are a spectrum, come from different classes, different backgrounds. And they don’t all have one of two opinions – either Saddam lovers or US lovers. It’s more complicated.”

Fadel agrees. “Sometimes when you’re a journalist abroad, they’ll say things like ‘what are people saying on the Arab street?’ — which doesn’t exist and nobody has one opinion and I don’t know where that street is.”

“Without hearing these stories of real people,” says Antoon, “it’s sometimes difficult for people to imagine Iraqis living full lives. So their destruction is not really registered as a loss.”

Watch Life After The Fall – Storytelling from Iraq

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History in the Making: Libya in the Time of Revolution

For better or for worse, we live in a time of history-making moments, especially in the Middle East. Our long-running UC Berkeley series “Conversations with History” has been recording the voices of those making and uncovering history for more than 500 episodes and the latest installment, “Libya in a Time of Revolution,” is no exception.

Host Harry Kreisler welcomes war correspondent Lindsey Hilsum, who offers her first-person account of the revolution in Libya that toppled the dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. In this fascinating interview, Hilsum, who chronicles her adventure in the book Sandstorm, discusses Gaddafi’s 40-year reign of terror and his role as an international actor. She then traces the factors that led to his fall, emphasizing Libyan nationalism, the Arab spring and the intervention of external powers, and analyzes the role of journalists in the continuing worldwide struggle for human dignity. Hilsum concludes with a discussion of what she learned from her experiences in the country and speculates on Libya’s future and how external intervention can bring about change in places like Syria.

Watch Conversations with History: Libya in the Time of Revolution with Lindsey Hilsum.

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