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An Hour After A Bomb Went Off In Baghdad, This Cellist Did Something Beautiful

"When things are abnormal and so insane, we have an obligation to ... be dedicated to making life sustained."

Posted on April 29, 2015, at 7:49 a.m. ET

On Tuesday, a car bomb exploded in the district of Mansour in western Baghdad. The explosion killed at least 20 civilians, officials told the Associated Press.

Hadi Mizban / AP Photo

An hour later, as shop owners were clearing wreckage from the explosion, Iraqi symphony cellist Karim Wasfi walked into the blast center, took out his cello, and began playing.

As Wasfi played, a crowd gathered. You can watch a video of his performance here.

View this video on YouTube

By nightfall, local news crews had shown up to interview him. “It’s my way of expressing my feelings," he told independent Iraqi media channel Soutuna.

"Obviously, I cannot challenge the bombs with my cello," Wasfi later told the BBC. "When things are abnormal and so insane, we have an obligation to making to be dedicated to making life sustained."

He even took some time to pose for photos with some fans.

Wasfi was the chief principal conductor and director for the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra from 2007–2012. He is currently leading the Karim Wasfi Center for Music & Creativity.


Wasfi's performance has gone viral on Iraqi social media, with thousands of people sharing photos and videos of his performance. Former Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq Baraham Salih described it as melody surviving bigotry and death.

Iraqi musician Karim Wasfi performs at terrorist explosion site in Baghdad; melody of life survives bigotry & death

Wasfi's defiant act of music is inspiring others in the community. This happened the next day.

2 Iraqi students play Iraq's national anthem at on the same spot where a car bomb exploded yesterday in #Baghdad.