Poet and writer Sinan Antoon has been called an "Iraqi-American Michael Moore, sticking a microphone in front of anyone he can find" (Richard Hart, Independent Weekly). In July 2003 he returned to Baghdad after 12 years of exile in the United States to see what had become of his city in a post-Saddam Iraq following years of wars and oppression.
The result of his visit is a feature-length film titled "About Baghdad," which he will present in person at an event hosted by the Aga Khan Program in Islamic Architecture on Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m. in Room 3-133.
The film has been called "a compelling, brutally honest and poignant... documentary" by The Daily Star, a leading English language newspaper in the Middle East. Its "bracingly unvarnished views stand in stark contrast to official reports," wrote Variety's Eddie Cockrell.
As a member of InCounter Productions, a collective of U.S.-based activist students and professors, most of whom are Arab-Americans, Antoon interviewed Iraqis from all walks of life as well as American soldiers.
In an interview with the broadcast "Democracy Now!" Antoon noted that most Iraqis' world view "goes beyond the Manichean view that Bush wants us to believe about Iraqis being Saddam-lovers or U.S.-lovers."
"It was just really depressing to see how drained and destroyed Iraqis are," he continued. "They're still resilient, at least, when we were there, and wanted to rebuild the country. But, really, people are really drained."
"The film humanizes Iraqis and gives voice to their own suffering," Antoon told the Boston Herald.
Antoon is a senior editor with the Arab Studies Journal, a member of Pen America and currently teaches Arabic and Arab Literature at Dartmouth College.
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