The shocking and severely disturbing finale to Ausama’s videos in Hometown Baghdad.
Ausama asked me to post the following note to the viewers of Hometown Baghdad after his final video was online.
First of all, I want to say that I never thought that we would be able to connect with anyone in the way that we have. I never imagined that we would make any kind of impact. I just wanted to say this before I began.
I carry love and passion for my country of Iraq, for my glorious city of Baghdad, for my house, for my family and for my people. It is what made me able to do this. My love and passion made me continue to tape in some of the hardest, saddest and most dangerous situations. It also gave me the responsibility to show you our lives, the will to keep going no matter what, and definitely the desire to show you our love for peace.
What we really tried to accomplish with this project is to show you our lifestyle; to tell the truth about what happened and what’s happening to us normal Iraqi citizens; and to show you that we’re not so different than others around the globe. We only have different cultures and customs. I humbly hope that we have succeeded in this.
I can’t express enough my thanks to Chat the Planet for giving me/us this magnificent opportunity, Thank you so much, Laurie, Mike, Kate, Barrett and everyone else who contributed to this project.
Of course, I cannot forget and will never forget the outstanding courage of the Iraqi crew members - Mr. Ziad Turkey, Fady, Nezar and Adel (the sound man). They challenged death many times to reach us and shoot with us. May god keep them safe.
This has been an extraordinary experience for me. It gave me new perspectives, the opportunity to meet so many new people, and to reach out and speak to the world.
I’m also thankful to you - the viewers. I’m so thankful to everyone who has watched our videos. I can only hope that you liked what you saw, and that you liked us even if we sometimes had different opinions.
No matter what happens in the future, I can be sure that we all seek the same things - Peace and Happiness.
I’ll end with a quote. It’s one of my favorites.
“To light a candle is much better than cursing the darkness.”
Thank you and Good Bye,
Salam / Peace,
The cradle of Civilizations, Iraq
(spoiler alert - watch the video!) Producing this series involved a lot of breath-holding on the part of us American producers and indubitably a lot more breath-holding on the part of our Iraqi cast and crew. Every shoot day was a risk. Every time Fady reported in that they had safely and successfully captured some as-of-yet-unknown aspect of Iraqi life under war was cause for relief. For one, it was another step closer to our shared goal of showing the human side of the conflict. But way more importantly, we made it one more day without incident. And so when Fady sent me an IM that Ausama’s uncle was killed, we were extremely upset. We had come to know and love Ausama through the little we saw of him in his casting interview and what we heard about him through Fady and the rest of our crew. His loss was felt deeply in our office.
It didn’t occur to me until about five minutes ago that most rational people in Ausama’s situation would have given up on our project. Turned their cameras off. Sent our crews packing. Who wants to work on a project with Americans for a predominantly Western audience when the US army has just killed your uncle? But Ausama did not stop. He did not shut us and the rest of the world out of his life. He allowed himself to be filmed when he was feeling his most vulnerable, and his most angry. He remained committed to continue sharing his life and opening himself up, “even if we sometimes had different opinions,” as he says. It is a testament to him and his family that we are able to tell his story.