Welcome to the Hotel Baghdad

Steve Mumford has made his way back to Iraq and posted the seventh installment of his brilliant Baghdad Journal. Once again, he puts the traditional media reporting to shame with his usual balanced and thoughtful views. Read the whole thing, as they say.

For those who are not familiar with Mumford, he is a New York artist who has travelled to Iraq a few times in the past year and published several “journal” entries detailing his exploits. I’ve been posting his stuff since I found it last fall. Here are all the installments to date:

They’re all excellent. I highly recommend you check them out. There’s usually some nice art as well. In the most recent installment, he meets up with several friends he made, and written about, on previous visits:

At Hewar, I meet Qassim, who says he’s waiting for some of “your countrymen.” He’s preparing one of his renowned grilled fish lunches. Soon the guests arrive: it’s the Quakers with Bruce Cockburn, who eye me warily. I don’t think Qassim realizes how much foreigners tend to avoid one another in their jealous rush to befriend Iraqis. Or maybe he does, and enjoys watching the snubs and one-upmanship. I take my leave, and relax in the teahouse, when the artists Ahmed al Safi and Haider Wadi show up. They seem like old friends now, and I’m happy to see them.

That evening Ahmed and the painter Esam Pasha come by the hotel for dinner. Esam gives me a great bear hug. It’s terrific to see him again.

Again, excellent reading. [Thanks must go again to Lexington Green from Chicago Boyz for introducing me to Mumford’s writings last fall]

Updates: Several updates have been made, adding links to new columns in the series.

2 thoughts on “Welcome to the Hotel Baghdad”

  1. I should thank you for pointing out these articles in the first place.

    I don’t read enough to qualify the quality, but the different perspective is terrific.


  2. Yeah, definitely. I’ve been singing Mumford’s praises for a while now because of this column…

    How did you meet Esam?

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