Issue 75 Download Archive Links Search Contact Us


The articles in this issue have been divided up into the following categories







Rivers of Babylon

by Khaled al Qeshtaini

Translated from an article in an Arabic daily appearing in London

I mentioned in previous articles the close attachment of Iraqi Jews to their ancient homeland, and as I mentioned in a recent lecture, this loyalty and nostalgia that they have for Iraq is due to the fact that Iraq and not Palestine is the historic birthplace of the Jewish people. It was in Ur that Abraham lived as head of a large and powerful tribe where he developed and propagated his belief in the One True God; it was in Babylon that the greater part of the Bible was recorded and where the Talmud was developed and became the foundation of Judaism.

Nothing can illustrate better this close relationship between the Jews and Iraq than the story of Sara Manasseh who was born and raised in India of Baghdadi Jewish parents, not having set foot in Iraq but continues to speak Arabic, as is practice of most Iraqi Jews living for generations in diaspora.

Sara Manasseh devoted her life to the study of Baghdadi Jewish folklore and singing for which she obtained a Master’s degree in London and went on to form a group called "Rivers of Babylon" singing in Hebrew and Arabic the traditional melodies of Baghdadi Jews reflecting the musical talent of that community which after all was the foundation of Iraqi music.

I was fortunate to attend a musical evening at a North London centre where I listened with admiration to the harmonious outpouring tunes of their songs.

I could not help coming to the conclusion that, rather than politics it is art and especially music that manages to bring communities and nations together.



If you would like to make any comments or contribute to The Scribe please contact us.