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Stand Up Comedy Baghdad

Something sounds really normal when you are living in Europe, The States or other advanced countries all around the world, But in Iraq, those simple things takes huge announcement and feedback about it, usually I always write with archaic style, and try to express complicated feelings and reactions about what I write about, but today I Was Here, has used the simplest method of expression, and that by organizing an event to make us laugh.

News, Campaigns and NGO’s has extravagantly used death, pain and misery in their propaganda, but somehow Iraqi youth lately have some anarchistic desires, yes most campaigns that have been organized in Iraq are about humanitarian cause, since humanitarian acts are not only achieved by donating cloths, food and shelter to those who need it, but it also by beckoning our inner souls with laughter, and enlighten our life with cheers and joyous events.

عندما تسمع الصدى في غرفة  مزدحمة … لكان اليوم كاي يوم طبيعي في اي بلد متحضر حول العالم الا ان كان هذا يوم عراقي و يوم حافل بابسط الامور التي نفتقدها و نتتوق للاقبال على بساطته و مجاراةً لنمطه تركت اسلوب كتابتي الذي يستنزف الكثير من الجهد للتعبير عن مشاعر معقدة و انفعالاتي اتجاهها حيث “انا كنت هنا” استخدمت ابسط طريقة للتعبير عن حبها و هي تنظيم حفل لينشر الضحك في الاجواء و علي ان انوه ان كل من الاخبار و الحملات و المنضمات الغير ربحية التي استخدمت ألامنا و معاناتنا و اخبار الموت باسراف في الوسط الاعلامي لكن بالاونة الاخيرة الشباب العراقي كان ذو نمط يخرج عن النمط المتبع من الاغلبية بغض النظر عن ان اغلب الحملات الانسانية المنظمة في العراق هي حملات انسانية و بما ان الانسانية هي ليست فقط التبرع بالملابس و الطعام و اسكان الفقراء و لكن ايضا تتضمن ايماء الذات بالضحكة و تنوير الحياة بالبهجة و الاحتفالات الممتعة.

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I Was Here has chose the perfect timing and the perfect way to do so, very few in Iraq know what stand up comedy is, and fewer who understand the concept of it. This group of young volunteers has organized this event in Al Mansour Hotel, reminded me of very good memory that happened in the same place, it was SWB 6 months ago, which always reminded me that no matter how many times our society, culture, government want to take us to nowhere, some youth come up with ideas that really change most of the calculations.

It was a very good way to start a year, 2014 is now drawn with a smile, echoes with laughter and will be remembered as the first year since 2003 that started with laughter, it was well organized, probably the best organized event by volunteers in Iraq so far.

“انا كنت هنا” قد اختارت الوقت و الطريقة المثلى للالمام بالجانب المنسي من الانسانية لعدم انتشار هذا النوع من الترفيه في العراق و الغالب لم يستوعبوا المبداء منه حتى من يشاهد هذا النوع من الترفيه.

نظمت هذه المجموعة من المتطعوين الاحتفالية في فندق المنصور الذي ذكرني بالذكرى الحميمة التي حصلت في المكان نفسه قبل ستة اشهر ستارت اب ويك ايند بغداد التي في دورها ذكرتني في مثابرة الشباب في تغيير حسابات المستقبل بعد محاولات المجتمع و الحضارة و الحكومة في احباطنا، و كانت طريقة جيدة لبدء عام جديد حيث سنة 2014 مكتوبة بابتسامة و ضحكة ستدوم و ستخلد بانها اول سنة بدأت بالضحكة بعد سنة 2003 و كانت الاحتفالية منظمة بشكل جيد مما يجعلها في صدر الاحتفاليات التي نظمها متطوعين في العراق.

In my own opinion, today star of the show was Ammar Al Safar who is the most talented and made the best comedy.

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I have to raise my hat to  Ali Al-Rawee and Lutfie Luay. for their exciting musical show.

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And I have to give credit to Hassanein Zizo for his creativity and moralistic comedy show

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Special appreciation to technical support Abdulkarem A. Abbas who supported us with the full show:

Part 1

Part 2

P.S. special thanks to Aws Al Najar for the translation.

Thank You I Was Here, organizers, cameramen, technical, logistics and who made this event, hope this is a good message to everyone, to come up with creative ideas, and implement them in Iraq.

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Startup … Baghdad

Most people as soon as they get to their rooms, they take off the mask, and they travel from this world to their own worlds, were their own fantasies apply, where they are heroes, where their reality is the perfection they have from their own flaw, deeds, actions and thoughts.

But … A hall at the 11th floor of Al Mansour Hotel in Baghdad near the ancient river Tigers, almost 200 people entered, and they start living in each other worlds sharing their own fantasies dropping behind the infamous Iraqi egotistic, arrogant and pompous spirit, they just simply translocated from Baghdad to another planet, from shattered dreams to the land of dream’s merit.

Mark those days (27-28-29th of June) as the greatest days that Baghdad has witnessed for the past 23 years.

Many years passed and all Iraqis with their great ideas, mentality, skills and profession have perfected the art of playing solo, many people tried to bring together talents together voluntarily, wholeheartedly and zestfully to cooperate, but all the prior attempts were in vain, until new heroes emerged, they called themselves FikraSpace!

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Those had my dream, to convene Iraqi skillful, passionate and determinate people in one place to share their ideas, exchange their experience and the most important part is to concur to achieve the ultimate dream by building small dreams together.

FikraSpace have heard about an idea called, Startup weekend, so they contacted them and Startup Weekend wholeheartedly prepared everything with the help of Fikra space, Ngo’s and other companies like the Mercy Corps, USAid, Foras, Shaf Media and other to make this happen.

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All tickets were sold within 48 hours, 150 people showed up, and from those 150 individuals, 55 gave their ideas, I was one of them, everyone wanted ….

Wait!! Did you read the number well! 55 ideas, where were they hiding? I tell you! Behind the accusations of the shallow excuses like, electricity, security issues, religious sects and pathetic no-support from the government.

Yes! They have stepped on those excuses and reveled their fantasies and told the world of their secret hidden ideas, and then people started to vote, 15 ideas won, 13 have been implemented, I am like many of those ideas who had less votes we were not annoyed!

What? I want my idea to be the one I want to work on… many of us said so, because that doesn’t reflect our selfishness, it is simply a new way of thinking that we are not used to, so we had two choices 1) either we leave or 2) we help others to fight the monsters to reach the castle and save the princess or the prince.

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Willingly we all jumped to help others, you see technicians, non-technicians, designers and others working all together in an environment that just the idea of thinking about it is refreshing and overwhelming, Finally we proved that we love each other, some would say “we already love each other” I would say, this is the first time we prove it!

There was something few can comprehend unless they were there with us, but I will do my best to explain, I have a friend … Startup Weekend, Fikra Space and the supporters and the participants have gave me the opportunity to meet a high school friend, last time I met him was 2006, and he came to the event as a coach, And what a coach he is, he was inspirational, motivational and acknowledging, he was part of Startup Weekend Sulaymaniyah, and he already have an established project Easy Bites and I also met one of my friends that last time I met before 2003 he is a technical manager in Microsoft Iraq, Startup Weekend not only gathered people that they don’t know each other, but it broke the social cumbrance of forgetting old friends because of the excuses that we always try to make as  a prison around us, so this event has proven that all the bars and the high walls we build to just give ourselves shallow justifications are only a mental issues, and we broke those bars, and now we started to welcome other people, with other ideas and not only that, we help them to reach their dreams.

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The most voted ideas were:

Rafat Tariq
Waad Omar
Saad AlMoemen
Ali Makzhomy
Abdullah Adil
Atheer Mohammed
Ruaa Kamal
Mustafa Ahmed
Maryam Ameer
Luma Safwan
Hasan Alajelee
Hayder Tamimi
Ali Ibrahim
Thulfiqar Mohammed
Hayder Hadi

Their Ideas varied about, Banking and economical collaboration between users and National bank and other banks in iraq.

To create an online restaurant delivery application and website to enhance the customer-restaurant communication

To create a cultural awareness to historical and cultural sites, to reintroduce Iraqis and others to our history and treasury

To create Animation Cartoons to address different problems in Iraq and how to overcome them

To build a company to help fresh graduate to acquire what it takes to have more opportunities to find new jobs and build their carriers

To help marking shops in Malls and update with new sales or new coming products

To create an E-House, with simple touch from your cellphone you can control your house

To create an application to know the Internet services around you and help you chose the best one for you

To create a database of people to help all studies to have a practical well-established survey via SMS service.

To help organizers with their logistics

After all these amazing ideas, I will not tell you who won, although it is easy as soon as you go to any of the links and you will find out, but guess what? we were all winners, all these ideas were the source of creativity and success, meeting new people was the key and meeting old friends what makes it amazing, but what made it extremely perfect are the Iraqis who lives abroad and foreigners, I have to introduce you to people that meeting them add a special flavor to the event and we were honored to meet them:

I will start with

Sheikh Shuvo

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Farooq Ali

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Katral-Nada ( Coach and Judge )

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 Mohammed Al Samar’ai ( Coach )

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  Zaid F. Jawad

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Zaid Al Hakeem  And Ahmed Iz Al-Deen from Microsoft Learning Center – Iraq

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Dhafer Fadhil Hasan – Project Officer – UNDP- Iraq

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And Others, Baghdad is in the debt of all those who made SWBaghdad Happen.

The title is Startup … Baghdad, this event is Startup Weekend, but it is a Startup to Baghdad, it is the initial move to the wheel, that will keep turning. and fun and games were part of the event, people were smiling, and their hearts were flying to new horizon.

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The greatest problem now is that those who shared their dreams will stop, if SWBaghdad is over, we are not over, We have to keep on sharing and helping each other and never stop dreaming and help others achieve their dreams, Those three days waere 54 hours from the Prehistoric Era to The Medieval Era, and we will keep moving until we prove that ….

There were judges ( people with experience ) who decided who are the winners, but Youngsters have proved that our time is now, and the youth is taking control, with all respect to the judges and their experience, Young people have proved that they are the promising future that broke all the chains, they are innovative, creative and promising …

Now what is your Part now! share, you help us to reach more people, to help them to help us and to help them back

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And the best part of all the event “My Heroes” Teenagers who give the biggest hope in the next generation

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I have to apologize to all that i couldn’t mention, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart

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