Sunday, June 14, 2015
Iraq's Jewish tragedy reaches BBC Arabic viewers
Watch the first eight minutes to see the BBC's report on Iraqi Jews (Arabic)
Thanks to 'Shadow in Baghdad', Duki Dror's documentary about Linda Menuhin's search for traces of her vanished father, thousands of Arabic-speakers are hearing for the first time of the tragedy of the Jews of Iraq, a 2, 500-year-old community reduced to five people.
In the first eight minutes of this BBC Arabic service programme, we see Linda's old family photos from Baghdad. Linda talks about her father, detained by the regime and presumed murdered in prison in 1972. She gives a run-down of the last tragic years of the community - the Farhud of 1941 and the oppression of the remaining community after the 1967 war.
Jews who were born in Iraq and are now living in London are asked about their feelings for their country of birth. When asked which country she identifies with, Niran Bassoon-Timan says: "it's a difficult question. Each country - Iraq, Israel and Britain, is a part of me."
Ivy Vernon describes the atmosphere after the Six-Day War. All the Jewish breadwinners were at home with no work. Her father, an import-export merchant, had his trading licence withdrawn.
Two others say they would like to visit Iraq but are afraid. Su Khazzoom says: "even if peace is declared there is no guarantee that things won't suddenly change again."
Following the broadcast, Niran Bassoon-Timan commented: "It is a very important achievement that the issue of the Jews of Arab countries is covered by and discussed on BBC in Arabic."