In the aftermath of a car bomb in Baghdad, this man sat down and played his cello

Evan Bartlett (@ev_bartlett@ev_bartlett
Wednesday 29 April 2015 14:50
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(Picture: Karim Wasfi)

Amid the rubble and debris of a bomb site in Baghdad, musician Karim Wasfi sat down to play his cello to send a message to those "who consider bombs to be the only way to resolve this disagreement".

At least 10 people were reported to have been killed in the Mansour district of the Iraqi capital on Monday in a day when three car bombs, thought to have been detonated by Isis militants, hit the city.

A video of his act of defiance in the face of terror was shared widely from the Soutuna TV Facebook page.

The cellist, who is also the director of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, told the BBC: "Obviously I cannot challenge the bombs with my cello, but I can at least assure that life is worth living."

My message as an artist, as a conductor, also as a cellist, is that when things are abnormal we make things normal. We make things worth living for.

  • Karim Wasfi

An obvious comparison can be drawn between Wasfi's act and that of the famous 'Cellist of Sarajevo' - Vedran Smailovic - who later inspired Steven Galloway's international bestseller. Amid sniper fire, shelling and heavy fighting, Smailovic played his instrument each day for 22 days at a bomb site during the Bosnian War - one day for each of those who died in the blast.

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