October 15, 2003 1 min read

Conversation With Iraq

In a new PBS documentary targeted at teenagers, high school students in Baghdad reveal their hopes and fears in an online videoconference with their American counterparts.

“Iraq Unplugged,” a 30-minute program from the award-winning public-broadcasting series “In the Mix,” shows the June 5 videoconference of the two student groups speaking to each other via satellite uplink.

The Global Nomads Group, a New York City-based nonprofit organization that connects students from around the world, organized the videoconference. It was the second such exchange between the students. (“U.S., Iraqi Teens Discuss Aftermath of War,” June 18, 2003.)

The first, also documented by “In the Mix” and called “Voices From Iraq,” occurred only days before the U.S.-led war in Iraq began. (“‘Project Voice’ Enables Teenagers In U.S., Iraq to Share Viewpoints,” March 12, 2003.)

In a far different part of the world during the June conference were 10 high school students from Iraq’s elite Baghdad College, speaking from the rooftop of a student’s home damaged in the war. Thousands of miles away in Bloomfield, Conn., were 17 high school sophomores from the 500-student Metropolitan Learning Center, a public magnet school for global studies.

In the PBS show, the exhaustion of the Iraqi students shows in their young faces, many of which were pale and drawn. Many spoke candidly of their anger at the American troops and how hard their lives had become over the past several months.

One student spoke of seeing dead bodies and burning cars on her street. Another, Norideen, said angrily: “We will work for the sake of this country, not for the sake of the American troops.”

The American students spoke of their regret over the lives lost in the war. “My blessings are with you, and I’m sorry for what happened,” said Alisha Walker.

“Iraq Unplugged” will air Oct. 18-24; check local listings for dates and times. Both “Voices From Iraq” and “Iraq Unplugged” will air again in December.

—Rhea J. Borja