Meet Iraqi sculptor Nida Kadhim
Sam Dagher / © The C.S. Monitor
In a country that's been devastated by violence, there are some who still believe in the goodness of the Iraqi people. Iraqi Sculptor Nida Kadhim is a ray of light in the middle of the Iraqi darkness.
Sam Dagher of The Christian Science Monitor brought Nida's story to us. He writes about Nida:
Nida Kadhim's eight statues of physicians from the Abbasid era – a golden age that spanned five centuries beginning in AD 750 – once adorned Baghdad hospitals. Along with many of his other distinctive bronze works, they disappeared in the wave of looting that engulfed the city after the US-led invasion in 2003.
But Mr. Kadhim, who witnessed firsthand the pillaging of Baghdad's heritage, is optimistic not only that there is a place for art in Iraq today but also that it can play a central role in restoring Iraqis' sense of nationhood and normalcy.
The idea is that the bard and the others could serve as symbols of unity for a fractured nation struggling to heal the wounds of a bloody past and present.
The most admirable thing about Nida isn't his art. Rather, it's his spirit of forgiveness toward the regime of Saddam. A forgiveness that's rarely seen in Iraq considering his brother was killed by Saddam's henchmen. He's a person who's willing to bury the past to build a better future for Iraqis. Sam Dagher writes:
Today, he's willing to forgive former members of Hussein's regime, and wants to do something that might reunite his fractured people. Sam says: "He told me that the problem is that Iraqis are afraid. 'It's like they climbed up palm trees to protect themselves. But one day they will come down and start talking to each other again.'
Tonight, I watched the movie "Freedom Writers." The movie mirrors what's happening in Iraq where people have dragged themselves into a blind loyalty to their ethnic sector. The movie's message is very clear. We can make a difference if we start caring for each other and stand up for what's right for everybody.
Nida Kadhim is doing what's right for Iraq and Iraqis. At the age of 70, he'd rather make a tiny positive difference than live with failure because he never tried.