Article Title

Out of Sight, In Mind: Cell-phones and the Reconnection of the Iraqi Diaspora with a (Home)land


It was only after the invasion of 2003 and the gradual collapse of the Iraqi state that cellphones began to surface on Iraq's public market, for they have been previously banned by the regime of Saddam Hussein. This fairly recent breakage of the digital barrier rendered Iraq at the time as one of the most promising ICTs markets in the Middle East, with critical consequences on the larger Iraqi society, particularly since it also saw the introduction of the previously banned Internet. Using personal experience, as well as interviews with Iraqis from Baghdad, this paper argues that Iraqis creatively employed, and continue to employ, ICTs and Cellphones not merely as a tool of reconnection between the Iraqi diaspora and the homeland (and vice versa), continuously reconstructing their national identities, but also as tool of survival and risk assessment for Iraqis on the inside. This is of particular importance since the devastating consequences of the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq are still evident on the Iraqi social, urban, and political space until this day.

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