Shafaq News/ It may sound as if Baghdad resident Majed Abdul Noor is playing the lute, but on closer inspection the Iraqi musician is clutching a repurposed Kalashnikov.
The 50-year-old musician, who works as a teacher to support his family in Baghdad, has suffered enough violence.
Abdul Noor acknowledged that he had a gun at his home to "protect himself" during the worst years of sectarian violence. Between 2006 and 2008, Iraq witnessed a bloody war between Sunnis and Shiites and militias then ruled in war-weary Baghdad.
"Suddenly, it seemed as if all the ties we had weaved were no longer important," recalls Abdul Noor, who lost many of his relatives and friends in various attacks. "Iraq became a huge battlefield and the war was raging everywhere."
From war to art
According to the Iraq Body Count database, more than 100,000 civilians were killed in the country between the 2003 US-led invasion and the withdrawal of American troops in 2011.
"I said to myself, 'Why war? Why violence? I will turn all this into music,'" said the white-haired man, passing his fingers on his strings.
When he brought the Kalashnikov rifle and its ammunition box to one of the blacksmiths, the latter told him, "What do you want to do with it?"so I answered him “ Don’t ask questions just do it”.
He said before resuming” I'm sure he thought I was crazy”, According to AFP