An Iraqi cellist performed an impromptu concert on the site of a terrorist attack in Baghdad, hours after a car bomb killed ten people there.
Karim Wasfi, former director of the Iraqi symphony orchestra, began playing his cello for shaken residents in the upscale Mansour District in western Baghdad following a deadly terrorist attack Tuesday, according to a Thursday report by the Telegraph.
News of the cellist’s impromptu concert spread rapidly, and clips of Wasfi performing against the backdrop of a bombed out café were uploaded to the Internet.
“People were united against the tragedy. There was sincerity and kindness, tears and hugs,” Wasfi said of the passersby who stopped to watch him perform a self-written piece titled “Baghdad Mourning.”
The attack was one of several in Baghdad this week, as Iraq grapples with a jihadist insurgency, civil strife and large-scale sectarian violence. Medical personnel estimate that 19 people were killed and several dozen injured in a spate of bombings on Tuesday alone.
Terrorists from the Islamic State were believed to be behind the attack in Mansour.
“I play to show life is worth living – I can’t beat the bombs with my cello, but I can bring respect for the dead,” Wasfi later told the BBC.
Wasfi runs a music academy called the Karim Wasfi Center for Music & Creativity and often gives lectures and plays music at orphanages.
“The message was that this was a new day – a day not for death, but for hope… My message as an artist, conductor [and] cellist is that when things are abnormal, we make things normal. We make things worth living for.”