Tuesday, February 19, 2008

From Judith Karpova--

Dear Friends,

My very dear Iraqi friend Namaá Alward, who was in Baghdad with the Human Shields in February and March of 2003, is coming to the United States as a lead singer in a concert at the Cooper Union Great Hall on March 1st.

The concert commemorates the death of Rachel Corrie and the fifth anniversary of the invasion and occupation of her country.

Namaá is an actress and singer, born in 1953. At 18 years old, she won a national prize as the best actress in Iraq.

She was engaged in politics in the communist party.

"There were no other parties or method of expression." she told me. "Very few could maneuver to stay without any announced commitment, to be able to be neutral. And I was an actress, I had to be clear about which camp I was in, about which commitment I had, so being leftist, you are automatically called communist. So I was a member, but a naughty one, and I still am, until today, I just follow my intuition. I don't accept authority and I will never accept it, and any kind of authoritarianism provokes me this is why I don't accept religion, because you have to follow a path written and decided beforehand for you. This makes me a puppet following the one who moves me. So this is why I was naughty also when I was a communist.

"So I exposed myself and people around me to danger, because it was not allowed to anything but Baathist and follow the god, Saddam Hussein."
She was forced to flee Iraq to escape the Saddam Hussein regime. She found sanctuary in Norway, where she works with political refugees and has won many prizes for her work in theater and film.

In February of 2003 she risked being apprehended by the regime and returned to support the Human Shield project and to see her family before the war.

Last year she came to the US to participate in a similar concert, and she is returning again this year. Her singing is intricate, emotional and pure. I urge everyone who has a chance, to go to Cooper Union and see her and the other world-class musicians and performers in this venue: The Rest is Silence.

Judith Karpova

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