Voices of Iraqi Women
I have a friend in town who can't stand Bush's voice, so I missed the State of the Union last night. Instead, we saw "9 Parts of Desire," an incredible play inspired by Iraqi-American Heather Raffo's first trip to Baghdad in 1993. At the Saddam Art Center, mostly filled with billboard-sized portraits of Saddam Hussein, Raffo found a painting of a nude woman clinging to a barren tree with her head bowed. Raffo took a photo of the painting in hopes of finding the artist, only to discover she had been killed during an American-led bombing raid in Baghdad earlier that year.
Raffo spent the next ten years interviewing Iraqi women about life under Saddam, love, marriage, art, war and death. The monologues, which are based on those interviews, shatter stereotypes about Arab women and girls.
"I have not been to school since America came...they looked like N*Sync...and momma won't let me go to school because I waved to them."
-Samura, an average teen who classifies explosives as easily as she identifies boy bands
"What am I supposed to tell my patient's husband? Here, it's your first-born son, I'm sorry he has two heads?"
-An Iraqi doctor who struggles to save people suffering from poor hygiene, malnutrition and weapons radiation.
"You must buy, buy...our history is finish. So it is more worth. More worth. Two dollars?"
-Nanna, a homeless woman who sells anything -- even paintings pulled from the rubble of bombed museums
9 Parts of Desire is playing in Berkeley, then it's off to Seattle, Philadelphia and Washington DC.