It is a great honor for me to have been invited to deliver the Charles Seeger Lecture. Besides celebrating the legacy of a humanist who covered many and varied aspects of music, the occasion gives me the opportunity to share with you, through my personal involvement, the state of music and its sound space in my country, Iraq, and particularly in its historical capital, Baghdad, and how it was affected after the destructive war, embargo, and invasion.

In 1990 the United States, a former major ally who used to befriend the local regime, threatened to send the country back to the Stone Age. In other words, the whole country, including its people, history, society, and culture, was menaced with being destroyed, with results locally compared to the thirteenth-century Mongol invasion.

In forty-three days of continuous bombing, the first Gulf War of 1991 led, among other things, to the complete destruction...

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