Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

From Hanoi to Baghdad | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Something odd and exciting is happening in American popular culture that relates to Iraq. In order to clarify this idea, we must go back to the 1960s when the USA embarked upon a losing and purposeless war in Vietnam. Thousands of American soldiers lost their lives whilst others returned physically disfigured and psychologically disturbed.

Such a desperately sad scene was transported to the field of popular culture; a large number of important political books and best-selling novels were published and patriotic records were produced. Not long after, cinema and theatre also dealt with the issue of war through productions, which even today are still discussed by critics and the public and these include Coming Home, The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, Born on the Fourth of July, and Platoon, and the musical theatre production Miss Saigon.

This interest in the Vietnamese war has moved between creativity and traditionalism to reach the world of fashion, cuisine and interior design. A new trend began where Vietnam or Asia fascinated Westerners in general and Americans in particular.

The same thing is happening now to a large degree with respect to Iraq. As the number of American troops who have been killed and wounded increases and as their presence in Iraq and the occupation is prolonged, curiosity about this state and this part of the world grows.

There has been a substantial surge in the number of books and novels that aim to explain and analyze the history of Iraq in its religious, social and historical contexts, some of which are serious and others that are comical and absurd. This is also the case regarding film productions, the majority of which are very critical towards the policy of the American occupation and incorrect decisions that have been made as a result.

There has been an increasing interest from many other “Iraqi” angles since plastic arts and Iraqi antiques have sold for high prices in auctions and furniture showcases. In addition, an Iraqi Baghdad restaurant has opened successfully in New York.

What will be the outcome of this cultural activity? At most, the will and the soul of the people will triumph and what happened with America, Japan, and Germany and then Vietnam is likely to happen with Iraq after the incumbent American administration and the stupidity of neoconservatives that beat the drums of destructive war leaves office.

The American nation is without doubt better than its current administration and we can bet on it that all this activity will lead to removing the “superstitions” that are propagated by warmongers whose lies have been revealed.

From Hanoi to Baghdad, it is clear that there is no place for those who beat the drums of war. The curses of their victims will follow them but good will always prevail.