“Dhia Jabbar hides his oud in a sack when he walks down the street in his Baghdad neighborhood. He used to teach students in the back room of a photo shop, where the sound could not be heard. But last week, militia gunmen invaded the store, destroying one of his instruments and ordering him to stop teaching. He had dreamed of a performing career, but now he has lost hope…BUT…” Seven thousand miles away, Rahim Alhaj, who fled Iraq in 1991, carries his oud without a second thought through the streets of Albuquerque, where he now lives. In New York, Washington and other cities, he plays for audiences of hundreds. An album he recorded was recently nominated for a Grammy Award…” You can read it here.
Note: I only came across this article recently, though it’s from last year’s “NY Times.” Maybe things have a changed a little for the better for Dhia Jabbar during the interim.