Iraq’s Magicians

    She folded her robe, raised her hand, and threw a white powder on the mirror before starting to murmur unclear words. She was carrying her censor and moving around the room while the astounded spectators were anticipating the outcomes. My aunt’s lips trembled and my uncle rested on the wall, but nothing came out of this ceremony. The witch game
2015-03-29

Omar Aljaffal

Journalist from Iraq


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    She folded her robe, raised her hand, and threw a white powder on the mirror before starting to murmur unclear words. She was carrying her censor and moving around the room while the astounded spectators were anticipating the outcomes. My aunt’s lips trembled and my uncle rested on the wall, but nothing came out of this ceremony. The witch game my uncle and aunt a paper on which she wrote a description of the thief and told him that he might be one of their relatives. The description was so general it could be written about almost half of Baghdad’s men, but the witch’s words sparked doubts in my aunt’s heart and led her to suspect all the relatives and follow their movement closely. This occurred in the mid-1990s after my aunt’s jewelry had been stolen. Poverty had reached an unprecedented scale in Iraq with almost 40 per cent of the population below the poverty line. People did not trust the police because it was mired in corruption so they resorted to witches to solve their problem after it had been claimed that Saddam Hussein and his deputy were doing the same. 
Such claims were often repeated in Iraq, a country isolated from the world and held by firepower and the military. Years later, it was revealed that the same witch who visited my aunt and uncle was, in fact, an agent of Saddam Hussein’s security apparatus. After her home was raided, they found documents that included detailed information about the residents of her neighborhood, indicating that she was an informant.

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