“Shadow in Baghdad” is a new documentary film that traces the story of the Jewish community and its disappearance from Baghdad by focusing on the narrative of Wexner Israel Fellowship Alum, Linda Menuhin Abdel Aziz (Class 6), who escaped from Iraq to Israel in the 1970’s. Duki Dror, one of the most prolific documentary filmmakers in Israel, set out to tell the story of Iraqi Jewry through this film. On the film’s website, Mr. Dror says, “There is almost no public knowledge about the Jewish community of Iraq… about the 2000 year long, rich history, of one of the most important communities in Jewish history, nor about its tragic end.”
Mr. Dror teamed up with Linda, primarily using digital media to overcome the barriers of trust, geography, and politics, in order to connect with Iraqis and uncover the sad end to Linda’s father’s life. The story of the Israeli/Iraqi communication, cooperation, and search is also the remarkable side story of this film.
“The motto that I learned at Harvard’s Kennedy School as a Wexner Fellow, which served me when teaming up with Duki, was: without a vision you cannot get anywhere,” Linda writes. “The concept at the basis of what the Wexner Foundation does in training leaders is all about education, and that’s what I am trying to do in the film: first to educate the Jewish people worldwide about Jewish communities in the Middle East, and then to highlight the potential of how this human bridge between the Israeli and Arab world might be leveraged.”
To view a trailer from Shadows in Bagdad, click here.
Linda Menuhin Abdel Aziz, a Wexner Israel Fellowship alumna (Class 6), is currently a senior journalist and commentator on Middle East affairs and serves as a consultant to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Arab world issues. Previously, she served as head of the Israel Police’s Research Unit, and headed the Middle East desk of Arabic TV at the Israel Broadcasting Authority. In 2011, she received the Outstanding Contribution to Peace Award at the 2011 International Media Awards held at the Oxford and Cambridge Club, London. Please see Linda’s article in the Jerusalem Post, “Conjuring the Memory of Iraq”, September 17, 2013. “Shadow in Baghdad” will be pre-screened in October at various events in DC concurrent with the exhibition at the National Archive in Washington DC “Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage,” which details the dramatic recovery of historic materials relating to the Jewish community in Iraq from a flooded basement in Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters. If you’d like more information about screenings in North America, Linda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.