My Country, My Country

Zeitgeist Films

The sadness of modern Iraq is ever-present in this Academy Award-nominated documentary for 2006. Directed by Laura Poitras, the film follows Dr. Riyadh, a Sunni candidate for election in the 2005 Iraqi elections, as he goes about treating patients and negotiating the difficulties of daily life in Baghdad, all while campaigning for a seat in the Iraqi parliament. Riyadh is a man of great dignity and courage, but because the Sunni minority largely boycotted that election, his efforts came to nothing. On the day the election was held, 44 Iraqis died, and the number of Iraqi civilian dead was estimated at 100,000 at that time, a number that has been dwarfed in the violence that has taken place since then. Some 58 percent of Iraqis turned out to vote on that day, and as we see them lining up at the polls, a doleful Iraqi song plays on the film’s soundtrack: ‘Oh my country, oh my country / may you have a happy morning / reunite everyone, heal your wounds / I yearn to see you smile someday / When will sadness set you free?” If you would know the human face of what your country has done to that country, then you must watch this film.