Iraq teacher turns Kalashnikov into music – Middle East Monitor

Music teacher Macid Qazim transformed his kalashnikov rifle into a stringed musical instrument in Baghdad, Iraq on 18 September 2019 [Haydar Karaalp/Anadolu Agency]

An Iraqi music teacher has renounced war and violence by turning the most famous war machine in conflict zones into a musical instrument.

High school teacher Majid Kazim, who lives in the capital Baghdad, said he is calling for peace through this act.

“I would like to call for peace and emphasise its importance in my country, which has suffered from the scourge of war over the past years,” he said.

Kazim noted that he has been interested in music since he was young, and he encourages students to practice it, as it is an effective way to achieve peace.

He explained that the bloody events in his country saddened him and inspired him to find new uses for the weapon.

Through this work, I wanted to replace the sounds of bullets with the sound of music.

Oil rich Iraq has suffered as a result of numerous war over the past few decades. In the 1980s the Iran-Iraq War led to the death of millions with nothing achieved by either party. Only a few years after the war was declared over, then President Saddam Hussein invaded Iraq’s southern neighbour Kuwait launching the First Gulf War.

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With Western powers backing Kuwait, Iraq was left reeling severe sanction placed on its people, including a limit on medical supplies.

In 2003, the US and its ally the UK extended the “War on Terror” onto Iraq’s soil and bombed the country claiming it had weapons of mass destruction and in an effort to dethrone Hussein. Though the long-time dictator was ousted and subsequently killed, no weapons were found and it was later confirmed that the claims which helped launch the war were not based on facts.

Baghdad has been left with a divided country, with tensions between Sunni, Shia and Kurdish communities, tribal and militia warfare and unrest.

The lawlessness allowed Daesh to take root in the country and take over large swathes of land. The government declared that it had defeated the terror group in December 2017 however sleeper cells still exist.