Artist's statement on what he saw on "Road to Baghdad"
July 8, 2004
If an artist produces his art in favor
of any government policy, either his or others, he could be considered
a puppet of that
government. However, any decision any government makes on policy,
is the responsibility of any artist to show the effect of that
policy on people.
It was late April of 2003 and I had just returned
from Portugal, Spain and Morocco. The war in Iraq was in the midst
of heated combat.
The news in Europe, which I saw on the Al-Jazeera TV and in the
newspapers, was heart breaking. The pictures of civilians and children
being bombed, was devastating. It was much different than the news
in the US.
On that night, at about 1:30 am, I woke up from a
nightmare about these events. What was going on? I turned
on the TV
and I was watching a program entitled “Road to Baghdad”.
I will never forget what I saw that night. How the US soldiers
were screaming loudly, kicking the door of a poor residential house
and entering a man's residence.
The head of the household,
obviously an Arab, who couldn't speak any English, appeared
from his poor quarters, fearing for his family's life, trying
to tell the soldiers, pointing to his mouth, that they are eating,
but in reality, they were covering their heads with scarves in
order to come out (some Moslem religious women cover there hair
in front of men).
Cultural clash! The US soldiers didn't
speak Arabic, nor were they familiar with the Arab culture. And
the Arab family didn't speak any English. Seeing these terrifying
looking aliens, heavily armed strangers, invading their house and
shouting, “Come on out, hands up.”
A line of family members, starting from the father,
his wife, oldest son (maybe 13-years-old), daughter and her 2
little brothers came out
of their living quarters, kneeling down in the yard outside their
residence with their hands up.
I have never seen a man fear so much for his family.
His wife's face, terrified for her children. The two little boys
were in the
state of confusion and fear, the older son observing the whole
situation. The young girl's face had so much fear that silent
tears were covering her beautiful eyes, while her lips and her
childish cheeks were quivering.
Fortunately, the soldiers realized their awful act
and, as I recall, even the TV broadcaster said, “I didn't
like that at all,” repeating it several times.
That night was one of the most awful memories I
have; I'm thinking how men are the cruelest, most vicious animals
when dealing with each
It took me almost a year to compose the painting
titled "Invasion". Showing human fears, without showing
the invaders, showing family
unity and the road of consequence -- that is what I tried to
What is the effect of these horrific actions on this
family? What are
the psychological ramifications on these children in the
near future? Maybe the old man has passed the age of revenge, the
only to protect her children, the two boys were too young
really digest everything, the young girl will always be fearful
and the older son (13 years old?) who observed everything
from the distance, will always remember late April of 2003 when
his country and his father's house were invaded.
goodbye to spam!