Saturday, March 17, 2007

Perspective: In music, a refuge -- and possibly death

A music store in Sulaimaniyah

SULAIMANIYAH, IRAQ -- Farouk Hassan's eyes well up with tears as he cranks his car's CD player and sings along with the latest hit, a lament to his lost love -- violence-torn Baghdad.

But it is not just the song's lyrics that encapsulate the tragedy of Baghdad's bloodshed in this scene. The pop star singing the tune, the young man listening to it and even the music-shop employees who sold him the CD are all among the thousands who have fled the Iraqi capital.

Navigating the streets of Sulaimaniyah, 290 kilometres north of Baghdad, Hassan, who fled the capital several months ago, points out that his friends back home cannot even listen to music in public, fearing they will draw the attention of Islamic militants who consider pop music a corrupting force.

Read the rest at the Globe and Mail