Fatima Abu Haroun, 29 years old Actress in Baghdad, originally from Najaf.
My soul clung to the idea of standing in front of the mirror and giving my face and body different personalities, I was fond of imitating my cousin and my uncle, who inspired the love of acting within me and the repetition of the movements of others, because their movements, despite their simplicity, were so distinctive and interesting that I even mimicked the daughter of our neighbor’s traditionalism, which made me always win the lead character in the "House Abu Bayt" acting game. In reality, I was not satisfied with that only, and even the most remarkable and well-known characters in the cinema and theatre world were not safe from my mimicking. Acting was and remains my never ending passion in life, it saves and throws me in worlds I adore even if they were only in my imagination. I loved the camera. I would always make different and unique movements in front of it. I was also interested in drawing, and my courage in drawing; any idea that came to my mind made me interested in photography. I saw it as a reflection of my imagination. After the age of sixteen, I decided to work as a photographer. I took my first pictures with an analog camera. The camera remained part of my heart and being. After that, I wanted to join a theater group to work and practice on my body’s control of its expressions and movements. These groups became a school for my passion and my hobby. The exercises taught me a lot; refining my acting abilities. In Baghdad, I created simple and varied poems and works of art, although I was not famous, but my efforts never stopped, because I consider acting a part of my life and my normal day. Of course, as any woman here trying to make it through life relentlessly, I encountered many obstacles within a ruthless male dominated society. Some of them feel that women working within these societies is more like a suicidal mission to establish the values of love and life is a difficult task, and most of them see that departing from the ordinary is an insult to some beliefs. Generally, I see women are always in a position of suspicion and being questioned if they are trying to break away from traditional customs and manners that do not coincide with their own personal principles. I do not hide that I have given up over and over and abandoned my goal and love of acting. However, something inside of me became clear with the passage of time and I had to tenaciously follow through with how I felt. Even these few defeats and setbacks made me more confident in myself and in my ability to continue every time with more motivation than before. In general, acting in my country is socially unacceptable for women, especially in Najaf, and I do not understand why the pressures on women vary according to their field of work. We see, for example, that respecting women sometimes depends on a specific specialty without another, so what happens is strange! I always saw the stories of women who challenge their societies despite the permanent obstacles, they have become a great acknowledgment for me; women can be strong, and this was the biggest means of support in inspiring me psychologically and morally. Consequently, my friends and family also became a means of support. My message to the women of my country is to be confident and beautiful, to love themselves in any situation, and not to give up or forget to read. As for my last words, let us not forget humanity, let us accept the individuality of human beings.
Image description: This is a photo, in muted black, brown, and cream, of a theatre scene. Against a black background, a woman with dark curly hair, wearing a brown, short-sleeved dress, is looking into he distance and speaking. In front of her we see only the back of the head and raised arm of a figure who is on the floor in front of her. Behind her is a ladder, on which we see, on the third rung, a figure in black trousers. The top half of the figure is not in the range of the photo.