A Night In Little Baghdad

A Response to Little Baghdad: The Long Table – Women of Iraq
By Donna Abela

A dancing stranger with smiling eyes in a line of other dancing strangers who reaches out her hand to you and invites you to dance. And you do. Hand in her hand, learning new steps. Dancing in time, and falling out of time, laughing with a woman who is not a stranger anymore, but someone has had made you dance and enjoy the fun you were in danger of just observing.

Painting on the outside of coffee cups to predict our own futures, own our own hopes for women in this world. Then taking your painted cup, talking to another stranger again, about our mothers, what obstacles they faced, what legacy they leave, what we have that they didn’t and must bring into our tomorrow.The shimmering gold map of Iraq. The gold twine holding together parcels of a play waiting on the table. The young women beside me draped in gold discs clinking and shimmering as they pass the tabouli, normalising the splendid. And I think, yes to more of this, more gold, more food passed around and shared among the shimmer.

Dissolving the binary. That amazing Huma bird we three drew to transcend our divisions, to see through 3-D glasses, the result of dissolved difference, our combined imaginations flying up there on the screen.

The sobering conversation with Zhara in Iraq. On constant watch for car explosions. We are safe and happy here because we want to be strong together. We know our strength is in being together in creative ways that hold our pasts, pains and hopes.

And to leave the night wanting more.

Donna Abela