Korean Lovers in Baghdad

Korean Lovers in Baghdad

Heba is really a young Iraqi woman with an excellent job being an electrical engineer and the chance of a good future.

At 28, she owns today’s flat in the newly-built Bismayah New City in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, where she lives with her mother and younger sister. It is a vast development of neat, beige and white apartment blocks, wide, well-lit plenty and walkways of green spaces, where children can play and ride their bikes.

Heba says living there makes her feel safe and sound.

“This place has given us freedom and satisfaction,” she says of the complex that’s among the many joint ventures between your governments of Iraq and South Korea.

But this is not Heba’s only South Korean connection.

In fact, she’s enthusiastic about everything South Korean. She uses Korean cosmetics, listens to Korean music, watches Korean dramas on television, cooks Korean food and contains studied Korean Hangul using YouTube tutorials.

“Korea didn’t shape who I’m, nonetheless it did draw out the true me,” she reflects.

Heba with Madeeha, an Arabic-speaking representative of YallaKOREA, a Korean tourism company for Arabs who may have a problem with the culture when visiting South Korea [Al Jazeera]

But Heba isn’t content with pursuing her love for South Korea from afar. Day having the ability to move there she dreams of 1. And she isn’t alone.

Heba represents a fresh and growing trend among young Iraqis who find in South Korea a vision for future years. While life in Iraq seems unpredictable and chaotic, South Korea offers them an enticing exemplory case of stability and order.

But moving to South Korea is really a huge undertaking. Heba risks losing her job and, alongside it, her family’s main income source. Not absolutely all of her family are supportive of it.

Korean Lovers in Baghdad follows Heba on an emotional journey as she pursues her dream and goes into search of her invest the world, encountering insurmountable obstacles on the way seemingly.


By Arij al-Soltan

Iraq is frequently in the news headlines: for war, bombs, violence, corruption and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also referred to as ISIS).

But when I visit Iraq, I see different things. I see resilience, change and determination. I see Iraqis carrying on using their lives, no real matter what. I observe that when everything falls around them, they stay standing.

During one recent stop by at Baghdad, I met several dressed ladies who have been imitating Korean pop groups conservatively. I was intrigued by this unusual mixture of cultures. The ladies weren’t fans of K-pop just; they’d learned the Korean language and could actually converse inside it, they watched Korean TV and films dramas, they had their very own social media marketing circles. Korea was the right section of their daily lives.

Heba, the central character in my own film, Korean Lovers in Baghdad, stood out immediately. Her passion for several things Korean had compelled her to go with her family from a vintage neighbourhood of Baghdad to a fresh complex that were built by way of a Korean firm. There, she’d be considered a step nearer to achieving her imagine living the Korean lifestyle and finally moving to South Korea.

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Heba is enthusiastic about everything Korean [Al Jazeera]

The more I scratched under the surface, the more fascinated I became by this eclectic cultural mix. It had been clear that wasn’t only a fad or perhaps a teenage obsession. Young Iraqis were hungry for change, and wanted an area that offered peace and acceptance and pushed them to attain something during otherwise bleak times.

The social people I spoke to, both old and young, found Korean culture to be that space. It inspired them to pursue their dreams. Iraq, they said, could learn a whole lot from the Korean model.

More surprisingly, ladies cited Korean relationships as something to desire to often. This is unusual because the two cultures couldn’t become more different.

The fabric of Iraqi society has changed after three wars, and several of the ladies I spoke to said that honesty and trust between your sexes were quickly disappearing. Iraqi men had are more patriarchal, violent and controlling, i was told by them, offering examples from the marriages of relatives and friends.

Women’s freedoms have regressed in Iraq and their movement is becoming more restricted in an over-all atmosphere of war and violence. Consecutive governments have made matters worse by diminishing women’s rights.

Overlooking the town of Seoul, South Korea [Al Jazeera]

Still, I was surprised that Iraqi women would look so far as South Korea for a style of today’s relationship. They identified care, equality and compassion as a foundation of male-female relationships there, and expressed a solid need to be in relationships that could provide them with space to cultivate and maintain a qualification of independence. They rejected the Iraqi model, where a variety of expectations and responsibilities were, by default, positioned on the girl.

The whole story in the film of the person holding the umbrella perfectly embodies this. Iraqi women, like everybody else in the national country, are yearning for compassion, plus some feel it’s been found by them in the Korean life-style. This was a fascinating layer that I hadn’t expected and wasn’t in a position to fully explore in the film.

It is refreshing to listen to Iraqi women express what they need from the relationship clearly. But it can be a horrible indicator of what things attended to for women’s rights in Iraq.

But there’s hope. These ladies are needs to create a change by dreaming of different things for themselves. Whether their love for Korea provides a temporary something or escape more long-lasting remains to be observed.

In the procedure of earning this film, I learned that change is painful and slow and that personal growth comes at a price. However the whole story of Heba and hundreds like her assures me that change can be done. One day, we might look back as of this era in Iraqi history and start to see the Korean influence as a defining feature of the time. In times of desperation and war, probably the most extraordinary things can occur.

Source: Al Jazeera