Sectarian violence has surged across Iraq in recent months, reaching its highest level since 2008. At least 23 people have been killed in blasts targeting markets in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, with many injured as the area was packed with shoppers.
More than 5,000 people have died so far this year in Iraq, 800 of them in August alone, according to the United Nations. The worsening violence is also seen a spill-over from the conflict in Syria.
There are fears of a return of sectarian violence that peaked in 2006-2007 and killed tens of thousands of people. I don't even remember this. What's going on in the world with all this violence? I suppose there's no returning to former days of wonder about foreign lands.
I don't know about you, but the name Baghdad brings romantic images to my mind. I spent my early years in Parhran, Melbourne, surrounded by wonderful, colorful people. One of my mother's friends introduced her twenty-something daughter, who worked in the theatre. My mother made her wonderful dresses with full skirts and tight bodices as was the fashion in the fifties.
One of the first live shows in which we saw Jeanette Lydall play the female lead was Kismet, the lavish 1955 musical fantasy. Wonderful costumes, heart-breaking romance, memorable music, a whimsical plot, and the mystique of a foreign land. I'll never forget the songs like And This is My Beloved.
Will these troubled times ever become a story to delight the senses with romance and mystery?