Double bassist Jacque Harper sent me a link to this story from BBC News featuring bassist Samir Basim Yousif. Samir is one of only four professional bassists currently in Iraq. Here is an excerpt from the story (this quote is from Samir himself):
There is a huge difference between 1996 – when I first joined the orchestra – and now.
Then, it was safe and you could find the time to practise and to perform.
Now the security situation is so bad that the orchestra has lost many of its best players. Many are in Jordan or Syria.
But despite all of this, we can still perform and put on a concert.
When I play, I feel that if I am helping people take part in something cultural, it is worthwhile.
I love music so much. I enjoy playing in this orchestra, it is an honour to play.
Read the complete story here.