My Country, My Country


My Country, My Country tells the behind-the-scenes story of the January 2005 national elections in Iraq. Filmed over eight months, My Country, My Country is a cinema verite documentary told from the perspective of the people who planned, implemented, secured, and ultimately participated in—and boycotted—the elections.

With riveting access, My Country, My Country takes the viewer inside the work of the Independent Election Commission of Iraq (IECI), the U.S. military’s Civil Military Operations, the United Nations’ Electoral Assistance Division, the Australian private security guards hired to protect election materials, and finally into the home of a father and political candidate, Dr. R.

Dr. R is the central protagonist of My Country, My Country. He is a devout Sunni Muslim, medical doctor, Baghdad City Council member, and political candidate for the Iraqi Islamic Party. Dr. R lives with his wife and six children in the insurgent stronghold neighborhood of Adhamyia in East Baghdad where he runs a free medial clinic and is a respected local leader. An outspoken critic of the on-going US occupation, Dr. R is also a passionate advocate for democracy in Iraq.

My Country, My Country follows Dr. R in the months and days leading up to the elections: treating patients in his clinic, leading a Baghdad City Council inspection of Abu Ghraib prison, debating with Sunni clerks about whether to participate in the elections, agreeing to be a candidate on the Iraqi Islamic Party list, lecturing the US military about the political repercussions of the “Falluja Offensive,” facing the kidnapping of his young nephew, and ultimately in his home on Election Day deciding whether to vote or boycott the elections after his party withdraws at the eleventh hour.

Dr. R’s story will be interwoven with the high-stakes logistics and security planning of the elections. From black-market arms deals to U.S. military soldiers conducting public opinion polls on the streets of Baghdad; from Cold War-era enemies transporting ballots into Iraq to Kurdish poll workers opening bottles of purple ink on Election Day; from Iraqi police being trained by U.S. Justice Department employees to UN representatives discussing how to recruit poll workers in the Sunni Triangle.

Unfolding like a narrative drama, My Country, My Country begins on Election Day, introducing the main storylines and characters, then flashes back to the events leading up to January 30th, 2005. This structure – moving between the “present tense,” i.e., Election Day, and the encroaching “past tense”, i.e., 6 months earlier, two months earlier, thirteen days earlier, seven hours earlier, etc., will be continued throughout the film until ultimately the two timelines converge.

“My Country, My Country,” “Mawtini, Mawtini” in Arabic, are the opening words of the Iraqi national anthem. “Mawtini, Mawtini” is what Dr. R’s daughter sings as she returns home after voting. Holding up her inked finger she says proudly, “I voted for you. I voted for my father.”

My Country, My Country is part lament, part exaltation. A sobering look at the human realities in Iraq two years after the U.S.-led invasion, it is also a testament to the courage of people willing to put their lives on the line for their beliefs and the promise of something called democracy.


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