Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Baghdad High

HBO's Baghdad High documents a year in the life of four high school boys in Baghdad as recorded by them. This is the world view of kids who have for the better part of their lives lived in a war-zone and have come to a weary acceptance of their circumstances. We see them try to live a "normal" boyhood. There is a wannabe songwriter who sings along with a Britney Spears number, an anxious boyfriend worried about the safety of his girl in a place where suicide bombs can go off anywhere at anytime and staying alive is almost a miracle.

They don't look a lot different from their Western peers - with their jeans, tee-shirts, sneakers, cell-phones and gelled hair they could blend into school yards in America or elsewhere in the world with kids whose lives are nothing like theirs. Yet beneath the superficial sameness, a whole lot is different. They wonder if a walk down a street in their neighborhood could be flirting with death, they have friends who get wounded by road-side bombs and yet others who leave Baghdad and Iraq to seek a normal life elsewhere.

Very little can be counted upon, and there is even less to look forward to. It is touching to see the few odd moments of peace and joy that touch their unbelievably difficult lives - a birthday celebration, receiving the much-awaited SMS message from a girlfriend or skipping religious instruction class at school to play soccer with friends.

Amid the dejection and gloom, these incidents are the tiny glimmers of hope that one day peace will return to Baghdad, a city once known as The City of Peace. Baghdad High is a poignant tale of the tragedy that Iraq has come to be. That it talks so eloquently about the loss of the an entire generation without resorting to histrionics and gruesome details of death and destruction, the grist of mainstream media is a most remarkable achievement.


Anonymous said...

too true, too true!
HBO is producing good works.
I can't wait to watch it on DVD, its the only way we can see HBO productions over here!

Anonymous said...

This show has showed many things about Iraqi culture. Being young myself I see the similarities between the young culture there and here in the U.S. I have also realized that the american people should have nothing to complain about no matter how bad things appear to be. There are people out in the world that are going through so much more than we are. And these young adults handle themselves pretty good knowing the circumstances that they were going through. I thought this documentary was very informational and I now realize how some of the people of Iraq live.