Episode 25 - “The Palace Maid”

Adel risks a few moments out in the open with the cameras to tell a story from his Iraqi heritage.

Viewers in the UK should tune into “Today” on BBC Radio 4 on the morning of May 9th to hear a story about Hometown Baghdad. In the US, there will also be a story on NPR’s Morning Edition sometime in the upcoming days. Since I don’t know when exactly it is, just listen to NPR every morning. I do!
Update: NPR aired their story this morning on Hometown Baghdad. Here it is.

Update: Hometown Baghdad producer, Fady, sent me a great picture of a statue in Baghdad that depicts another story from the Arabian Nights. Read Fady’s brief description of it. Check out the photo below.
Statue of characters in Arabian Nights

62 Responses to “Episode 25 - “The Palace Maid””

  1. Konfused Kid Says:

    1. Brave place to shoot.
    2. You did not mention a very important thing which caused a raucus a few months ago, when the statue was painted in gold (its originally the same color as the jars)…which caused controversy among Baghdad’s artists.

    Nice going on the cover of the times.

  2. Nadia Says:

    I want to watch it now but it is taking ages to download :(!!

    It’s 4:58 AM now and my head keeps falling over the keyboard so I guess i’ll go to bed now and watch it first thing in the morning, see you tomorrow guys!


  3. James Says:

    I recently made a video of Iraq reflecting on some of the better moments. Please check it out and let me know what you think. There is also a surprise at the end.

    Much love and respect, thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Noor Says:

    Cool story, nice video!
    stay safe, and we’re looking forward to your new videos :D

  5. Tracy Says:

    That would look more beautiful if the water was turned on. I can imagine it…. A very cool story - thanks for telling it. Next time you can tell it safely from your living room sitting in a chair, OK? LOL. Stay safe, Adel.

  6. Billie Says:

    Thanks for sharing some of your culture ………. and risking your life to do so ! It’s amazing what yall offer up to share with us .

    Your sister of the Universe

  7. Nadia Says:

    Sa7at Kahramanaaaaa!! one of my fav places in Baghdad, I just love it!

    and yeeeeeeeeey, that’s Fady at the end of the video!!

    I love this video guys, thank you for making it!


  8. Iza Says:


    Is it true that you’re still in Iraq? Be safe out there and thank you for sharing a different side of Iraq. Its nice to watch something about your culture aside from what I see on the news about this war. Take care of yourself.

  9. vassago Says:

    Great video, interesting story behind that statue!

    Stay safe guys!!!

  10. Gunner Sgt Says:


    That is a fantastic video! Thanks for doing it.


  11. Amelia A. Says:

    Please be safe Adel. I worry about you.

  12. A.A. Says:

    I love this statue! My mom used to tell me this story when I was a little kid back in Baghdad. Can’t believe I still remember it! Hmm is there a way we can have a day to chat with the cast members? Maybe ask them questions? That would be great! Thanks a lot for all the hard work guys, keep it coming!

  13. Melanie Says:

    Thanks, guys, for continuing with the project. Please do not go out of your way into danger for it, though. We are interested in your stories, but there is no need to expose yourselves so much. Your safety is more important.

  14. Fady Says:

    Just like Konfused Kid saod, it was painted gold a few days before the shooting, but they removed that color a few days afterwards, because the statue is bronze and it should keep its original beautiful color. Even some Iraqi artists protested at the statue because of that ridiculous golden color.

  15. Valentina Says:

    Congratulations guys for your great and brave work, these videos are really precious and so interesting, but please don’t put yourselves into danger.

  16. bedlam Says:

    Lovely statue. Adel, you’re a bit pf a dare-devil eh?
    How long ago was that filmed?

  17. Kenny Says:

    It’s a nice story but like someone else said, don’t put yourself in danger. I didn’t feel safe shooting video in Colombia and I know that’s nowhere near as bad as Bagdad.

  18. Nadia Says:

    These videos were shot last summer, bedlam!

    Mike, I listened to the piece from npr, they do mention chat the planet in the middle ” an American production company called chat the planet” or something like that, just thought I should tell ya!


  19. Eddie Says:

    Guys, I have watched all your videos…
    Thank you so much for having the courage to make them. I am an Iraqi born outside of the country and have never had the pleasure of stepping on our precious Iraqi soil. Showing the life you live there now during the war is very sad and very difficult to watch, because it pains me to see our people and country in this situation. Thank you for your videos and please keep them coming. You have allowed me to see my country and what is left of its beauty after the war for the first time. Again, thank you all.

  20. Bassam Says:

    The statue is a beautiful piece of art of a known artist named: Mohammad Ghani Hikmet. He has another sculture that depected the story of Shahrazad, telling King Shahrayar the stories of one thousand and one nights. Located and forgotten on the banks of the Tigris river, not very far from this Kahramana sculpture.
    Adel, Kahramana story is a bit different of what you mentioned.

    Good luck with your adventures. Wish you wisdom and safety.

  21. Billie Says:

    Last summer Nadia ? I take it that’s good news then. All are safe ?


  22. Zaid Says:

    Brave Adel , Fady and all of you guys …….. I know its hard to make such capture like that ,
    God Bless You all

    Zaid Al Bender

  23. A.A. Says:

    Wow last summer? Seems like its very recent..Nadia are you part of the crew? Or do you live in Iraq or something?

  24. Nadia Says:

    hey A.A,

    No, I am not part of the crew, I just happen to be friends with members of the crew, so I was in contact with them during the shooting and I had the chance to watch these episodes as soon as they were out! Lucky me, I know :D

    I am Iraqi, but I don’t live in Iraq now, though most of my family do. I currently live in Egypt!


  25. A.A. Says:

    Wow that is very nice! I would love to visit Egypt one day and see the pyramids. I am also Iraqi but living in America. Been here too long and wish to visit Iraq soon. How long have you been gone?

  26. mike Says:

    hey nadia, i didn’t realize that you were friends with the crew…so that’s how you recognized the one and only fady. isn’t he awesome?? :)

  27. Nadia Says:

    You are most welcomed here in Egypt, the pyramids are waiting :D

    I am half Egyptian too so I was kidda moving between Egypt and Iraq untill before the last war, didn’t get the chance to go afterwards unfortunatly! :(


  28. Nadia Says:

    he is the one and only, Mike!! Never met nor will meet anyone like him!

    I guess we were all touched by his magical character :D


  29. A.A. Says:

    Thank you my dear Nadia. And if you ever decide to come to my part of the world (maybe you do, maybe not..lol) my home is your home. It’s what us Iraqis do, open our homes for each other. I have not been back since the Iraq-Kuwait war, I was so young when we left. So I was basically rasied in the States but I have some family still living there. I do wish to visit them but not with the current conditions…

  30. Nadia Says:

    I know how you feel A.A, it is so hard to be away from home, hopefully we won’t have to meet in the US or Egypt, a day will come and we will meet there in Baghdad, at sa7at Kahramana and we will carry our cameras and won’t be afraid to get shot like it is now :)


  31. Inas Says:

    Hey everyone,
    Ali Baba is one of my favourite bedtime stories, only i never knew it was originally Iraqi till i saw this episode, so thanks a million Adel!!!!
    I’ve never been to Iraq, but i noticed that the streets, (from this episode or any of the others) are so beautiful, with the trees and stuff, wonder how they were before the war :(
    It’s just very painful, knowing that Adel, and many young men like him, don’t feel safe, in their own land in their own streets, a simple action we do everyday like walking down a street is that dangerous, now how happy does that make the people responsible for this bloodshed??????!!!!!!
    And one last thing, just a reminder!, this is not the first risk Adel takes, (Hidden Camera), rings any bills?????!!!!
    take care, and please please stay alive,

  32. Nadia Says:

    yes, Inas, Adel certainly got…. guts :D!!

  33. Ausama Says:

    Wonderfull story , by the way … if someone doesn’t know , you can read all about it and other stories in “one thousand night and night” book.

    Ali baba like mentioned Inas .

    Brave adel , it’s really dangerous to tape anything in the streets it wasn’t easy or safe for anyone there.

    Thank you

  34. Tegan Says:

    Just nine hundred and sixty six nights to go…

    I had no idea that statue existed, it’s so beautiful!

  35. Fady Says:

    I just noticed a typo in my last comment here; it’s “said” not “saod” :) Yes, Nadia, that was me, and Adel does have the guts!

  36. Inas Says:

    Hey everyone,
    so Ausama, does that mean all the other stories in the “one thousand night and night” book, are Iraqi in origin?
    And oh yes Nadia, Adel certainly got….guts!, and a couple of gorgeous sunglasses!!!

  37. Ausama Says:

    Inas ,

    as far as I know , yes … and most of that happened in old Baghdad , in the time of one of the Arabian kings (or Khalifa ) and his wife ( the story teller ) ” Shahrayar and Shahrazad ” .

    we have their statue in Baghdad , I’m not sure if Fady has a picture of the statue!

    however , some of the versions of the book refers as if everything happens in Old Persia .
    I doubt that since some of the characters have arabic names :-) .

    by the way Sindbad is from Baghdad as well , incase you don’t know ?!


  38. Nadia Says:

    yes, he was Iraqi from Albasra as I can remember!

    Yes, Inas, can’t remember how many times we talked about his glasses, they sure do fit you very nicly, Adel :D

  39. Inas Says:

    Thanks a zillion Ausama, I remember yes that old Baghdad was the background of most of these stories, SURE i do know Sindbad is from Baghdad, come on!! This is a very interesting topic anyway. So thanks again :)
    Do you have a picture of the statue, Fady???????? :p
    And, Nadia????? I thought our conversation was private, remind me to be mad at you for a while :p

  40. A.A. Says:

    Yes hopefully Nadia there will come a day when we can go back and visit the ones we love so dearly. Wow, will there ever be such a day? I can’t imagine, I can’t.

    On a lighter note:

    I think the story goes, that there was this evil King who would marry a new wife everyday. After the first night he would then order his new bride to be killed and he would again marry and do the same. Shahrazad’s father used to work for the King and was distressed about finding a new bride. Shahrazad convinced her father that she should be the new bride, so that he would not be so hurt. He didn’t agree at first but after she convinced him, he agreed. So when she married him, she discovered a way to keep herself from being killed. She would tell him a story every night and not finish it until the next night, but then she would start a new story and not finish it again and so on. She then managed to come up with characters of Ali Baba and the fourty theives, etc. Many of which are now being told by Disney. She managed to keep her self alive Alf layla wa layla, which means one thousand and one nights and that is the where all her stories are kept. Every story , for 1001 nights.

  41. Nadia Says:

    God Inas, I don’t think I can take it when you are mad at me :D so I take it back :P

    That’s right A.A, the story you told is the story of Shahrazad and Shahriar, the story Adel told is Ali baba and the 40 theives, it is one of the 1001 stories just like you said!

    And you know what, it won’t always be like this, worse things happened in the past, remember how destroyed Germany was after the war and look at them now, they have one of the most beautiful countries in the world…. It’s not an easy task, it will take time but it will happen!

  42. Inas Says:

    Don’t worry Nadia, All forgiven and forgotten :-p

  43. sonia Says:

    Awesome, I almost cannot believe this was shot in Baghdad - just seems like another normal day hopefully it will be soon. Thankyou for all of the videos to all and your incredible courage. I was wondering about the same story i.e the 40 theives and how they hid in pots - hot oil I believe was poured on them.

    I am also stunned by your English in most videos - you all sound almost American or almost Aussie:)))

  44. Fady Says:

    Hi there -

    I didn’t have a picture for that statue, so I asked Ziad Turkey (director of HB) if he has one in his archive, and as I expected, he does have one. Here’s the picture:


    And you can read about Arabian Nights here:



  45. Fady Says:

    I forgot to mention that this statue is an artwork of the Iraqi sculptor, Mohammed Ghani, who also made Kahramana’s statue. It lies between Abu-Nawas Street and river Tigris. Here’s a link about him and picture of some of his works:



  46. lelly Says:

    Adel, you’re crazy but I like it.
    The statue is very nice, makes me think.
    Peace n Looove, peeps.

  47. Tegan Says:

    Lies Ausama, lies!
    Sindbad is Persian!
    And Shahryar was the Shah of Persia!

  48. Zaid Says:

    Sindibad is From Baghdad , you can check it out on the Japanies stories as well , lol

  49. Ripama Says:

    I’ve finally seen all of the episodes. Getting a glimpse into an aspect of Iraqi life is educational as well as entertaining.

    Thank You.

  50. Tegan Says:

    No, I swear i’m right about this!
    Okay, so I just looked it up, and Sindbad is from Basrah. BUT i’m still right. Because the story was set during the Sassanid Empire, which modern day Iraq was part of! And Shahryar was the Shah at the time.
    Admit defeat.
    Go on … do it.

  51. lelly Says:

    So is Iraq Persian? I thought that was Iran?

  52. Tegan Says:

    The Persian Empire covered most of modern day Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria etc…
    But during the Sassanid Empire (one of the Persian Empires) the Arab Muslims brought Islam to the Persian Empire and the Persians started losing ground, with fights between the Persians, the Ottomans, the Mongols… a bunch of Empires. And it all basically escalated to what we see today. So (i think) the Persian Empire was reduced back to what today’s Iran is.
    Persians are people native to the Iranian Plateau … like the Aryans. Dammit, I just proved my whole “Sindbad is Persian” point wrong.
    Oh well.. Thank you 12th grade Ancient History!
    Keeping that in mind, please tell me if i’m wrong! I haven’t studied Ancient History in like ….. infinity.

  53. Fady Says:

    No Tegan, you’re not wrong, Iraq’s land was part of the Persian Empire during the pre-Islamic era.

  54. lelly Says:

    Hmm, interesting, Tegan, thanks.Seems like Empires are always invading that area.Some things never change…
    I love Persian artefacts, so amazing.
    Aryans? Do you mean Ayrans? :.

  55. Tegan Says:

    There’s the Indo-Aryans (which are the persians) and then there’s the “Aryan race” which is associated with Naziism. That’s about the extent of my ‘Aryan’ knowledge.

  56. lelly Says:

    Tegan, well, its more extensive than my Aryan knowledge, lol

  57. Tegan Says:

    well i must admit, i had to consult wikipedia on that one.. the same with that ‘Iranian plateau’ bit. like i could ever think of a big word like that.
    i’m smrt.

    and thanks fady!

  58. lelly Says:

    I KNEW IT!
    I mean, er, I should have Wiki’ed it too.*goes off to do this*
    Well, you were very helpful, anyway. ;)

  59. Tegan Says:

    I didn’t wiki ALL of it. Most of it I remembered from school.
    Cos i’m just great like that.

  60. geoff Says:

    Is the ’statue’ of the pots that the 40 thieves still standing in baghdad?

  61. Fady Hadid Says:

    Yes, it is still standing.

  62. Zaid Says:

    Hello !!

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