Even in Western Countries women who are soldiers are rather rare. The lives lost in the battle belong to men and the country of Iraq consequently counts almost one million widows. Most of them lost their husband during the last nine years of fighting. The huge gender imbalance changed society severely, leaving many Iraqi families without the breadwinner.
As the American troops also brought part of their culture – including pop music and Hollywood movies – they also brought a new ideal in beauty that took off since then.
And suddenly, the surge of images from America influence a culture that used to be rather subtle about looks. But since the war, as the demand for plastic surgery has risen and the costs lowered, surgery is a new trend.
Gender issues are not exclusively reserved for Western countries, quite the contrary. Despite the general assumption, that women have no saying in the Middle East, the General Federation of Iraqi Women proves otherwise.
The role of women in the Middle East is widely discussed in Western countries, however, very often gender issues are simplified and put into stark contrast to the seemingly equal stand in Western societies.
Iraqi classical music always is sung poetry. Characteristic is the use of the lower end of a melodic range and the implentment of silence as a style element. Singers not only have to be excellent in composition, but also in history and the innovation of songs.
The common instrument is the oud. Classical Iraqi music is identifiable by the genre and by the performance. Maqam refers to specific melodic modes. When a musician performs maqam, the performer improvises based on strict rules.
There exist about fifty different maqams of which sone have sub-styles, and is closely related to Syrian music. The music is rather slow in most cases. Maqama texts often consist of classical Arabic or Persian poetry. Some performers translate the traditional sources into the dialect of Baghdad, others prefer to use the original language.