by Nazli Tarzi
Visitors to Baghdad’s Al-Rashid Theatre are currently still welcomed by rows of empty seats covered in dust. (photo credits: Nazli Tarzi) (2016)
This article first appeared in Niqash and has been republished here with their permission.
In Baghdad’s Salihiya neighbourhood, a group of volunteers are staging a different kind of protest. They have cleaned up a deserted theatre and started performances there again.
Rows of empty seats coated in dust are the first thing one sees upon entering Baghdad’s Al Rashid theatre – it is a relic that has survived in a country whose cultural heritage has been eroded by consecutive wars. For over a decade, the theatre has been shuttered, after falling victim to coalition airstrikes in 2003.
But it has not crumbled away. Today, the theatre, situated in central Baghdad, is no longer vacant. A band of local volunteers – film enthusiasts and artists…
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To those who have touched my twenty-one years of life but are no longer a part of it,
I hope all is well with you. It’s been a while. It could be a month or two. Or maybe over a decade. Either way, hello.
I turned twenty-one this past January. Crazy, I know. I hope you’ve had beautiful birthdays since the last time we’ve spoken. And I hope the years between those birthdays have been beautiful too.
I’m a lot different since I last saw you. I’m learning more about myself every single day. Sometimes it feels like I’m backtracking, or like I don’t know myself at all. But I can’t even say I’m the same person I was a month ago. So I’ve realized it’s okay to get confused by myself every once in a while.
I wanted to write to you for a lot of reasons. To say…
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Young Writers of Colour
I’ve spent almost two decades teaching in English primary schools, which serve multiracial, multicultural, multifaith communities. I want to explore two things I have noticed.
1) Almost without exception, whenever children are asked to write a story in school, children of colour will write a story featuring white characters with ‘traditional’ English names who speak English as a first language.
2) Teachers do not discuss this phenomenon.
Furthermore, simply pointing these two things out can lead to some angry responses in my experience.
Why are you making an issue of race when children are colourblind?”
is an example of the sort of question that sometimes gets asked.
Well let’s look at that. If children were writing stories where the race of characters was varied and random, there might be some merit in claiming that children are colourblind. However, even proponents of racial colourblindness…
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