Friday, August 26, 2016

Sasson Heskel's 'House of Dreams' still stands

There has recently been a flurry of reports (including on Point of No Return) that Sassoon Heskel’s home, the “House of Dreams,” in Baghdad was destroyed earlier this month. Researchers for Diarna, (the geo-mapping project),  inside and outside of Iraq have confirmed that a house once belonging to Sassoon Heskel was destroyed, but the “House of Dreams” still stands.




Sir Sassoon Eskell, Iraq’s first Minister of Finance and “Father of the Parliament” (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

See Diarna's report: 
Sassoon Heskel, the one-time finance minister of the Republic of Iraq, had two residences in Baghdad, both near the Tigris River and Al-Rasheed Street. People generally only know about one of his houses, and not the other, leading to the confusion. The house most people know about is the house near the Al-Sinak Bridge and Al-Rasheed St., which is known as “the House of Dreams.” Located at 33.328854, 44.403940, this is the house that Najem Wali described in his 21 March 2011 article “A visit to the house of dreams” and which Diana S. describes in the post-script of “Sassoon Eskell and the House of Dreams” posted to the Point of No Return blog on 13 September 2011. 
The House of Dreams had an interesting history after the Ba’ath Party came to power in Iraq. The House was used for a number of different purposes: as a telephone exchange, a theater, army barracks, and most recently and currently, the offices of the Iraqi Independent Film Center. At this point, we can confirm that this house was not destroyed.

Diarna's map showing the two houses of Sasson Heskel (courtesy)
The other house in Baghdad that belonged to Sassoon Heskel was located near the Al-Ahrar Bridge and Al-Nahar and Al-Rasheed streets, this is the house that was recently destroyed. An article in the Arabic language version of Russian Times about the destruction of the house states that it was located near the Al-Ahrar bridge. Further corroborating this, is the statement of a government employee commenting in this video that the destroyed house was nearby the house of Albert Sassoon Heskel. Additionally, the footage of the destruction in the video, corresponds more to the general scenery of this other house than the House of Dreams. See here for an image showing the house of Sassoon Heskel and the house of Albert Sassoon Heskel, with the House of Dreams located some distance away.

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