How the Arab music world can see our noble soldiers in war

Waad Argoub – Shadha Hassoun
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This fascinating video, by Iraqi singer Shadha Hassoun, has caused a sensation in the Middle East:

The raging questions about America’s role in Iraq came to a boil earlier this year with “Arqoub’s Promise,” a controversial music video which captured public debate.… Invoking Arqoub, a legendary character infamous for his unfulfilled promises, the Iraqi singer Shadha Hassoun bemoans both her affair with a U.S. soldier and the U.S. invasion of her war-torn country. Double-entendre lyrics about love and betrayal combine with images of the singer crossing wind and sand-swept streets to end up in a poignant post-lovemaking confrontation with her lover in the back of a U.S. military truck, with a large screen playing images of military hardware, explosions and torn bodies. As the U.S. soldier walks away, the video concludes in black and white, with a street strewn with dozens of shoes — in homage to Bush shoe thrower Muntazher al-Zhaidi — and a haunting close-up of a fright-stricken baby face encircled with barbed wire. The release of the video in mid-January, 2010 set the Iraqi and Arab press ablaze: “Shadha Hassoun glorifies the occupation of Iraq!” accused one columnist; “A political or romantic message?” wondered another; “Shadha Hassoun expels occupier,” wrote a third, reflecting multiple and contrary readings of the video.

Such work simply shows that the Arab world is often forced to be far more political than the West, as war and occupation are daily on their door-steps, courtesy of the “liberating” US and her charming allies.

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