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"The Iraqi TV show where 'bombers' meet their victims"
"A television crew, a security escort and two convicts make their way through Karrada, a district of Iraq's capital Baghdad that was recently the scene of a series of attacks. Residents shout insults from their balconies as the convoy stops at the site of one attack."
"The prisoners were taken to Karrada to re-enact on camera the crimes to which they had confessed, as part of a weekly programme called In The Grip Of The Law, which is produced by state-run Iraqiya TV in co-operation with the interior ministry."
"Relatives of the victims approach and take turns at scolding the convicts, who remain silent throughout. When they get too close, police gently push them away. The programme features interviews with prisoners such as Abu Jassem, convicted for involvement in attacks by Islamic State (IS). He appears nervous and keeps his head down as he details his role. Towards the end, he is asked whether he regrets it. "Yes, sir," Abu Jassem says quietly. The interviewer is not satisfied. "Yes, sir, I swear you have convinced me," he exclaims."
"Mr Hassan says no fewer than 10 million people watch his show. It seems especially popular in predominantly Shia areas that are frequently attacked, like Karrada, where the mood is vengeful."
"Inside Iraq’s burgeoning nightclub scene"
"Forget clubbing in Ibiza or partying in Thailand – turns out, Iraq has an expansive nightlife, and British women are even heading there on holiday..."
"While ISIS occupies Mosul and fighting continues in and around Baghdad, one corner of Iraq is remaining resolute against the onslaught of war that sprawls across the rest of the country. Erbil – also known as Irbil, or (curiously) Hawler – is still a cosmopolitan hub of expats, shopping malls and nightclubs. Women rarely cover their hair, short skirts don’t warrant the attention of the so-called ‘morality police’, and alcohol is easily accessed – costing about $10 a drink."
"Even though ISIS got within 40km of the city last year, the largely Christian, Kurdish region was able to fend off the extremists – and remains largely safe. And despite the conflict elsewhere in their country, residents are still determined not to flee. And their presence means that increasingly numbers of nightclubs are popping up across the city centre – even drawing holidaymakers from the UK, keen for an alternative night out."
"When the lights go out: Inside Iraq’s surprising nightlife boom"
"When writer Corinne Redfern visited northern Iraq for the first time, she expected desert sand horizons and demolished bomb sites. But she found Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan Region, is much more colorful and refined than she’d expected—especially when the lights go out."
"But prop open your eyelids until nightfall, and you’ll really witness the city’s swift shift towards Western modernity. All set for a series of early nights spooning my iPad and using my smartphone torch to find the toilet during an inevitable power cut, I suddenly found myself dragged on bar crawl after bar crawl—only the prevalence of heavily-armed bouncers and taxi bomb-checks betrayed the political unrest figuratively taking place next door."
"Groups of high-heeled locals and thirsty expats led me north to the Christian district of Ainkawa, where we downed wine in the lobby of the Classy Hotel before lining up alongside Fiori Hotel’s Moon Roof restaurant for an evening of tuna rolls and tequila shots with a 19th-floor view of the horizon. “Travelers like it here because it feels like home,” the manager tells me across the bar, shouting over an Ed Sheeran song to make himself heard. “You can pretend you’re back in London or wherever.”
“I know we’re down the road from one of the worst crises in the Middle East, but it doesn’t feel like it at all when you’re in the city.” Sophie*, NGO worker"
"But if Moon Roof caters to a European elite, then the Divan’s newly launched Lagoon Bar is an even dressier, Dubai-like affair, all complicated cocktails, illuminated swimming pools and pyrotechnical DJ booths, as waiters cater to a crowd of bandage-dressed guests."
"When the lights go out: Inside Iraq’s surprising nightlife Boom!"
“Those that do make the trip are always surprised by how Westernized it is,” she says. “I know we’re down the road from one of the worst crises in the Middle East, but it doesn’t feel like it at all when you’re in the city. If anything, it seems like more and more bars and nightclubs are opening every week at the moment.”
"And Erbil’s nocturnal novelties aren’t restricted to its city center. Flat-roofed villas in Shaqlawa Way, a sprawling countryside community less than 40 minutes’ drive into the suburbs, host all-night cultural affairs, as artists, poets and politicians come together to celebrate Syria through a rotating potluck of local foods and even-more-local dance moves. Meanwhile, baby-faced finalists of Kurdistan’s Got Talent take to makeshift stages as a paddling pool of rapidly melting ice cubes and clammy cans of Heineken draw refugees and residents alike. Oh, and yet again, I’m incomparably underdressed. In fact, it’s only upon attending a pre-Ramadan house party back in Ainkara that I stop questioning my packing choices—although that’s only because I’m too busy staring into the fire pit and having a minor epiphany to notice what anyone else is wearing anyway. As the flames flicker and a stranger passes me a plastic cup that may or may not contain three types of liqueur and a dash of red wine, I realize that the whole ‘destination counts less than the journey’ theory isn’t really accurate. In Kurdistan’s case, you should prepare yourself for your destination to be way more mundane—much more everyday and relatable—than your preconceptions would allow you to believe."
see also: The Best Nightlife in Iraq - TripAdvisor
"Young Iranians travel to Iraq for nightlife"
via: JOHNSON BOY