Childish Gambino’s This is America music video has seen several reinterpretations in the past few months, adapted to different countries. We saw the Nigerian version and another from Malaysia, among several others. Now, there is an Iraqi version of the song and music video that does the original justice by holding back no punches.
Iraqi-Kiwi rapper I-NZ’s This is Iraq (video above) is a biting portrayal of the atrocity and violence committed by the army of the United States in Iraq over the past 15 years, ever since their invasion in 2003. The rapper chose to release the song on July 4, which is the American Independence Day, as a reminder of the devastation the country caused in Iraq.
The video is set in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, in which I-NZ poses as a prisoner held by US forces, and is littered with references to the harrowing torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US forces which were revealed to the world in photographs in 2004. The visual references include the picture of “the hooded man”, which came to represent the inhumane practices that were carried out in the US military prison, a picture of a hooded Iraqi prisoner holding his son at a US detention camp, portrayals of Iraq’s crippling drug problem, and images of general violence carried out by US soldiers.
I-NZ told Vice that he poem expresses the hope, love and innocent dreams of its homeland: “I believe that after all this blood and war, hope still exists for Iraq, and someday, Iraq will return to its greatness. I tried to show this hope in the last shot, which shows Iraq’s old and beautiful and poetic away from the pool of blood left by the invasion.”