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Watching Saddam Fall

Assyrian Refugees in Sydney and the Imagining of a New Iraq

Greg Gow

Keywords: Assyrians; diaspora; imagination; Iraq; media; refugees; Sydney; transnationalism

This article brings together theoretical debates about transnationalism and the role of the imagination, and grounds these in a discussion of Iraqi-born Assyrian refugees who have recently settled in Sydney. The analysis is tied to the 2003 war and the ongoing U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. It provides rich ethnographic illustrations of the many and varied mediations through which Assyrians are relating to the conflict. Of special concern is the ‘imagination’ as an affective social dynamic. Tied to this is the idea of ‘transnational imaginaries’ that are produced through the intersection of specific embodied practices, implicit self-understandings, national frameworks, global flows, and transnational alliances.

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