With this episode, Saif’s story in Hometown Baghdad comes to a close. The final episodes with Adel and Ausama will come out next week.
Update: After watching this episode, Saif was moved to write a note to everyone. I am posting it here. He starts with a quote from an email that we received from HTB viewer Maura.
“When I thought of Iraq 4 hours ago, I thought of militants with guns and veiled woman kept indoors. I didn’t think of rock music, video games, college classes, family dinners and days spent just fooling around with friends. When I thought of Iraqis, I didn’t think of kids just like me–kids who just want to laugh and date, play rock-n-roll, tease their siblings and hang around with their friends in the park.” Maura, Viewer
This is what we achieved in our show, Hometown Baghdad, thanks to God. First, I would like to thank my wife who has stood beside me all the way. Thank you, Mr. Ziad Turkey, the director. Thank you, Mr. Michael DiBenedetto, the online manger. Thanks to Laurie Meadoff and Kate Hillis, the executive producers. Thanks to all the people who worked on this powerful reality show. And thanks to all the people who watched, rated, posted, supported me and encouraged me throughout the series. May God keep food on our tables and women in our beds.
We risked our lives and did our best to transfer the truth to the minds of our viewers. We filmed with the background sound of bullets and choppers. We filmed while the power was off. But we filmed and continued filming to the last moment when we were forced to leave our country. This has all been for you, Baghdad. The city of Sinbad, the city of Shehrazad, the city where we belong.
It was a great honor to share my life with all of you. I made many friendships with people who were ready to help. They are really great people by any standard. It has been an honor working with the Iraqi crew who were very brave, and the American crew who did a great a job of making the series as you see it now. It has been a unique experience in my life, and I am proud to have done this for my country. It was a patriotic job. And in the future, I hope I can do more to help my wounded country.
A true Iraqi,
In the coming few days/weeks, we’ll be hearing more from Saif on the blog about where he is now and what he has been doing since filming ended on Hometown Baghdad. As this video shows and as he will tell us, Saif’s struggle is far from over. I’ve written this here before, but I’d like to restate that the stories of Iraqi exiles and refugees need to be told. And more than that, they are fascinating, compelling, heart-breaking and occasionally uplifting. And that is a project that we at Chat the Planet would like to pursue. We have officially begun to look into the prospects of continuing the stories of Hometown Baghdad, call it Leaving Hometown Baghdad if you will (name and plans subject to change, of course). Wish us luck with the funding and logistics preparation. And feel free to contact me with encouragement, support, ideas, etc.
On a semi-related note, if you are interested in the lives of Muslims in America, check out this trailer for an upcoming documentary about Flying While Muslim.