The uprising was over by the time I was able to travel to Baghdad for the first time. Covid had sent the last remaining people from the occupied squares into isolation. But the revolt was still in everyone’s bones: the youth, the city, the regime. 

I travelled to meet A. in Baghdad and didn’t know what to expect. Baghdad still had (and has) the reputation of being one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Activists live dangerously here. There are no more car bombs and street battles. But the political situation is unstable.

I stayed with A. in downtown Baghdad. Together, we met many activists from the “October Revolution”. The hopes, but also the wounds and traumas, were still fresh. For some, the uprising was over; for others, it had only just begun. 

But one experience united them all: “We learned to say no. To our parents, to the government, to violence, to imperialism, to corruption!” In a country where fear has ruled for years, this is a big step. The youth vibrated with creativity. 


Khalili’s trust

I sought to witness the uprising from the inside. A protester’s perspective. A protester’s striving. Sturm und Drang in all its facets. 

While I was looking for protagonists who had documented the “October Revolution” themselves, a young photographer gave me a list of contacts. One of them was Khalili. The then 22-year-old demonstrator had recorded 70 hours of video footage during the uprisings. Right from the heart of the revolution. Unfiltered – a personal point of view. My heart was pounding.

After long discussions, he gave me and A. the complete hard disk. His hope: a foreign filmmaker could show the world the true events. He counted on us.

At that time, I had neither a production company nor any money. Khalili’s extraordinary trust launched this project.