CNN REPORTS THERE IS GLOBAL DISAPPOINTMENT OVER LAST NIGHT'S DEBATE BETWEEN MITT ROMNEY AND CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O.
WITHIN THE BULL PEN, WE NOTED PRESS DISAPPOINTMENTS AS WELL.
SAID A LOS ANGELES TIMES JOURNALIST TO THESE REPORTERS, "I WAS REALLY HOPING THEY'D MUD WRESTLE."
"THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN SOMETHING," A CNN ON-AIR AGREED. "AND BARRY O'S TOP COULD HAVE SLIPPED OFF AND WE COULD HAVE SEEN THOSE FINE MAN BOOBS. I WISH I HAD MAN BOOBS. THEY'D HELP ME FEED MY LITTER OF KIDS."
"I WAS HOPING THAT MITT ROMNEY WOULD JUST DROP OUT OF THE RACE, JUST SAY, 'I LOVE YOU BARRY O,' AND LEAVE," ADMITTED A HOST FOR MSNBC. "AND MAYBE THAT BARRY O WOULD DO A LITTLE STRIP TEASE."
ON AND ON IT WENT. SO SEE, IT'S NOT JUST GLOBAL, IT'S INDUSTRY TOO.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Afifa Iskandar passed away Sunday. The singer was not just an Iraqi institution, she was acclaimed throughout the region. She was also an actress, knew pretty much everyone, reportedly was the mistress of one prime minister, retired to avoid another prime minister, a very interesting life. All Iraq News reports she was 91-years-old, born in 1912 to an Iraqi father and a Greek Christian mother. The paper explains she began singing at the age of five and gave her first concert when she she was 8-years-old (gave the concert in Erbil).
Alsumaria notes that she married at the age of 12 and that she began singing in Baghdad clubs in 1935. She'd go on to sing at all the leading clubs including Cabaret Abdullah and the Paradise. In 1938, she'd travel to Egypt where she wowed Cario. The History News Network shares a story of a social get together where Afifa Iskander performed:
To compare any singer to Um Kulthoum was the biggest compliment a singer could receive, especially in the fifties (this is before Arab rock had been invented). Afifa Iskander deserved it, not because of her overpowering voice nor her magnetic presence (factors which had made Um Kulthoum a star) but because of the warmth of her personality and the astonishing way she sang Iraqi ballads and made them her own. She was Iraq's Um Kulthoum because she sang Iraqi songs that spoke to Iraqis everywhere in the same way that Um Kulthoum, despite her great Arab following, sang primarily to Egyptians; and she became a national icon precisely because she was able to sing songs that did not imitate the style of Egyptian or Lebanese chanteuses, but were profoundly, natively Iraqi.
Al Rafidayn notes that she will be buried in a Baghdad cemetery near her mother. Her mother was a strong influence and played four instruments. Last month, Warvin reports, she was admitted to Baghdad Medical City Hospital, suffering from intestinal bleeding. Afifa was celebrated for her singing and her beauty. Jabra Ibrahim Jabra shared a recollection in his posthumous Princesses' Street: Baghdad Memories:
Some of the writers were not happy at the Brazilian Cafe unless they sat on the front line chairs facing the street, which was always noisy and busy with its ever-changing scenes, people, colors, carriages, cars, and lottery ticket sellers shouting, "Five thousand dinars! Five thousand dinars!" The din did not ceasue until about midnight, especially because next to the cafe was a famous nightclub, in which Afifa Iskandar sang.
Desmond Stewart introduced me to Afifa Iskandar at her request, for he used to give her private English lessons. To my surprise, I found her to be young, bright, and thirsty for knowledge and culture. Desmond and I used to boast that we were the only two men in Baghdad, on going to the nightclub, whom the "artiste" would offer a drink and pay for it, not the contrary.
Another memory is shared in the book Outside In Marginality in the Modern Middle East (Eugene Rogan, editor):
[Amin] Al-Mumayyiz's wedding party in 1940 was a different affair. By then he was a diplomat, and had moved house to al-Salihiya, a leafy suburb. The musical entertainmnet started with the chalghi accompanied by singing of maqams and pastas by professionals and amateurs. At midnight, the then renowned singer Afifa Iskandar arrived with her takht (band) headed by Salih al-Kuwaiti. They came from the Otel al-Jawahiri (which belonged to the Kuwaiti brothers) after the end of their peformance there. Afifa danced and sang and charmed all present with her smiles and jokes.
Skies explains that last year, during Ramadan, the series Baghdad Beauty aired -- a series tracing "the life of Affifa Iskandar, one of the first Iraqi singers which started to gain her fame in the 50s of the last century. [. . .] She sang in the same cabaret in which her father, Iskancer, plays the violin. Known personalities attend to the cabaret to listen to her. Among them, Naseem, the British, who reprsent what the UK wants from Iraq, Bakir Sidqi, an Iraqi Army leader, and lately a Nazi German, who offers his country as a new ally to Iraq."
In 2010, Hadani Ditmars (CounterCurrents) remembered a trip he took to Iraq and seeking out a Catholic doctor who as very popular in Baghdad, "Young and old, rich and poor, Kurds and Arabs, even Afifa Iskander -- the former star of Baghdad's old cabaret scene and mistress of Abdul Karim Qassim (the Iraqi leader who flirted with Russian Communists and was overthrown in the 1963 CIA-backed Baathist coup) -- came in for a visit. She was in her eighties then and being treated for dysentery, in a neighourhood that, less than a decade earlier, had been middle class."
General Abdul Karim Qassim overthrew the (British installed) Iraqi monarchy in a 1958 coup and was Prime Minister of Iraq until 1963. For demanding that the British and American venture Iraq Petroleum Company share ownership and profits with the Iraqi government, Qassim was targeted for overthrow by the CIA during the Kennedy administration. When Saddam Hussein came to power, Afifa Iskandar declared her retirment in order to avoid performing for him. As one of Iraq's legendary and most popular singers, she'd performed before the previous prime ministers and the royal family.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia notes that, in the thirties, the "best-known" were "Muhammad Kubbanshi, Salima Murad, Afifa Iskandar, and Sabiha Ibrahim." She would perform in the film Layla in Iraq (1949) directed by Ahmed Kamal Morsy and an Iraqi film classic, the second film from the Stuiod of Baghdad. From 1930 to 1950, Susannah Tarbush (Saudi Gazette) notes, "Saleh Al-Kuwaity was the pre-eminent song writer in Iraq, writing songs for stars such as Zakiya George, Munira Al-Hawazwaz, Afifa Iskander and Zohour Hussein." In June 2008, Akhbaar notes, Afifa Iskandar was one of the artists honored during a cultural salute in Baghdad.
Among her influences was the Iraqi Jewish singer Salima Murad who was famous for the song "On The Banks of the Tigris." In the documentary about Iraqi music, On The Banks of the Tigris, Afifa Iskandar shared, "Salima Murad was my teacher. She was a real Iraqi!" And many feel that way about Afifa Iskandar. At Alsumaria's Facebook page, already 151 comments have been left at the story on Afifa's passing.
Earlier this year, Kurd Net noted a concert that was "reviving the Iraqi folklore song festival performed by a group of Iraqi artists in Sweden" and that among the famous and beloved Iraqi songs being performed were ones originally presented by Afifa Iskandar. Rotanata Radio notes that one of the songs she made famous was "It Burned My Soul."
It burned my soul when we parted
I cried and drowned them in my tears
What did my heart say when we parted
It burned my sould when we parted
As I bid farewell I say how can I forget them
My heart, for God's sake, go with them
I would rather die than us be apart
I want those who left me to come back the journey
I want to give them part of my soul as a keepsake
I've experienced every kind of affliction
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