Radio Silence

Series produced by Radio Silence

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Conceived by artist Michael Rakowitz, Radio Silence returns famed Iraqi broadcaster Bahjat Abdulawahed to the airwaves after decades of absence in the surreal world of “Radio Baghdad.” Bringing together the voices and talents of Iraqi refugees, Iraq War veterans, and musicians and performers, the program weaves elements of experimental documentary, radio plays, sound collage, and variety programs to frame the real experiences and talents of participants and reconstruct an Iraq dematerialized by literal destruction and diasporic separation.

Through 30 minute episodes, host Michael Rakowitz builds the story of an Iraq that no longer exists featuring archival recordings of Aldulawahed’s time as a broadcaster in Iraq, recordings with him in Philadelphia before he passed away in September 2016, as well as stories, poetry, and reflections by the current Iraqi refugee community in Northeast Philadelphia and Iraq War Veterans, also located in Philadelphia and facilitated with Warrior Writers, a national non-profit who works to articulate veterans’ experiences through artistic expression. Each episode also features original and interpretative Arabic music by a Takht, a musical ensemble of Middle Eastern music, led by famed musician Hanna Khoury.

Episodes can be aired starting November 2017

Additional Files

7 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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We’ll hear about Iraqi monuments kept hostage by US troops, denying access to the Iraqis to whom they belong.

  • Added: May 20, 2018
  • Length: 30:00
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An Iraqi tells us about the absence of certain sounds in the Arabic language, and a veteran reads letters from her former grade school teacher’s cl...

  • Added: May 13, 2018
  • Length: 29:44
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We’ll hear about a soldier’s refusal of tea and how that led him to work toward rediscovering his and Iraq’s humanity.

  • Added: May 06, 2018
  • Length: 29:54
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An Iraqi activist shares stories about silence as a form of protection in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

  • Added: Apr 29, 2018
  • Length: 30:30
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We’ll explore the sounds that have been evacuated from Iraq, musicians muted by their disappeared audiences and bygone origins.

  • Added: Apr 25, 2018
  • Length: 30:00
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Our debut episode, devoted to the topic of speechlessness, introduces you to our host Bahjat Abdulwahed, the “Walter Cronkite of Iraq” living as a ...

  • Added: Apr 25, 2018
  • Length: 29:52
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Trailer for Radio Silence series

  • Added: Apr 09, 2018
  • Length: :30