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karbala

Tags: iraq

Karbala Radoods School at Husseinya al Yassine at Mohammad Amin Street (حسينية ال ياسين في شارع محمد الامين)

  • https://goo.gl/maps/etPHsb2jTbkjnJ3W7
  • March 25, 2022
  • 3 different classes at this Husseinyya, one qu’ran recitation class, one fiqh class, one radood class
  • For qu’ran class, each teenager recites and there is also a choir of older men and younger kids
  • The older men perform at the end of class and the younger kids perform after them
  • Teacher corrects them at every stage
  • Afterwards fiqh class happens and the sheikh seems to talk to everyone
  • Smells like a regular ventilated mosque, although not much to report on that
  • Interior structure is a 2 story
  • Radood school is the same as qu’ran school, except that people pick different Qasidas, there are some famous ones
  • Ages from 8-40

Field Notes July 15th, 2022

  • Went to the radood graduation ceramony
  • Teachers were honored, then the radoods themselves
  • Ali gave a warm up while waiting for everyone to particpate
    • Made a joke about how people don’t know if it is a qasida or not
  • People walk through and back, and the event itself is quite social
  • Plenty of photos were taken all the time
    • Something to write about the fact that everyone takes photos all the time
  • Food, general sitting, party stuff
  • Speeches seem to draw in the audience as well, hitting specific loudness
  • A list of speakers, some with prepared speeches at the start
  • Haider notably chose to do his speech in fusha
  • Everyone seemed to think that this was a little performance
  • Interesting that this was all in fusha
  • Two qasidas were performed, one was written by Haider and one was written by another teacher
  • The role of the banaity of the performance, that everything was highly routined and performed
  • Clapping and rythmic chants
  • For every singer there is a camera
  • For the entire choir, after three qasidas they hand out certificates of apprechiation to the teachers and elders
  • All the teachers are middle aged men

Generators in Karbala

  • Public electricty is very bad, like everywhere else
  • But not paid via card like the KRG, but rather paid monthly

Travel Guide

  • International media office
  • Shia center
  • Coffee time cafe
  • al-Kefil society
  • Hay Hussein
  • Food time
  • Nova Cafe
  • Where the rituals happen
  • al-Hur

Daily questions

Here’s some daily questions I get in Karbala:

  • Question: “Why are you in Iraq?”

  • Brain: because I have some undiagnosed form of self-loathing and decided that this country was going to be my therapist. I wish I had some nice orientialist fantasies, at least those guys had a reason for being out here.

  • Me: “I’m a researcher doing fieldwork out here.”

  • Question: “How long have you been in Iraq?”

  • Brain: how can anyone tell time in this country when everything is “tomorrow inshallah” and there’s an absolute disregard, maybe even contempt of the concept of time out here

  • Me: “Oh I’m in and out every few months, but I live in Kurdistan usually.”

  • Question: “Do you like the food here?”

  • Brain: No but you obviously can’t say that so shut your trap and say something nice.

  • Me: “Yeah qoozi is delicious.”

  • Question: “Your Arabic is good!”

  • Brain: No my Arabic is dogshit and every day I feel like a child having to ask people to repeat themselves or explain words I don’t understand, please please do not tell me that it is good

  • Me: “Haha thanks! I hope to practice it more”

  • Question: “Which country are you from?”

  • Me: “I’m from China”

  • Them: “Oh Jackie Chan!”

  • Question: “Do you like Iraq?/Is Iraq beautiful?”

  • Brain: Iraq is great except when I have to consider the ethics of being out here. You know how in the Middle Ages, those crazy beaked doctors would cut you open, poked around randomly, and you either died or lived? It’s like that. We foriegners bombed this country open, and now all the foreigners including me run around poking at different bits of the body with zero coordination as the patient is dying on the table? Yeah it’s like that

  • Me: “Iraq is beautiful and the people are friendly!”