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First Tattoo Joint Opens In Baghdad. Here Comes The Acid Throwing.

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by GamblersGrin, Aug 28, 2004.

  1. GamblersGrin

    GamblersGrin Elite Member

    Joined: Sep 24, 2003 Messages: 3,243 Likes Received: 16

    Dragons, Skulls Thrill Iraq's Teen-Age Tattoo Fans

    Fri Aug 27, 8:04 AM ET

    By Matthew Green

    BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Need a skull, a dragon or a naked woman? Descend a flight of steps to a dingy corridor and step into Baghdad's only tattoo parlor.

    In a city better known for bombs than body art, a self-taught Iraqi tattoo artist is pioneering a new style of designs forbidden under ousted dictator Saddam Hussein (news - web sites).

    Working with a home-made needle and architect's ink, Sarmad Shamael says his Celtic crosses, screaming eagles and death's heads are catching on among a small circle of youths.

    "Now people have more freedom; people have a choice about what they do. There's no laws to restrict them," he said, speaking in his shop where pin-ups of bikini-clad models adorn the pastel pink walls.

    "A lot of people ask me, 'Why are you so strange? Why are you so Westernized?' I tell them: Because I like it," said Shamael, a soft-spoken 29-year-old who began painting as a child.

    For Iraqi teen-agers, the almost guilty pleasure of tattoos provide a moment's respite from life in Baghdad where car bombs can explode at any moment, militiamen run riot in the slums and the chances of finding a job are slim.

    Advertised by word of mouth, Shamael's parlor has had about 100 clients since it opened after Saddam's fall in April last year, with dragons proving the most popular of the designs he copies from a well-thumbed book imported from abroad.

    Himself a walking ad for his art, Shamael has drawn a lion and a dragon on his forearm, while a friend helped print the motto "I want kiss you" in English on his upper arm.

    He says there's no need to worry about health risks -- he always dips his needle in antiseptic.

    Costing anything from about $15 upwards, the quality of his tattoos has some way to go to match the intricate designs shown in pictures from foreign magazines pasted on his walls, but Shamael is building on a rich tradition.

    Iraq (news - web sites)'s tribes have long pricked their skin with designs to cure disease, work as love charms or ward off the evil eye, although city teen-agers who dare break what is still a taboo for many people are risking their parents' wrath.


    Mohammed Jasim, 19, said he had no regrets about the scorpion and native Indian chief emblazoned on his upper arms a couple of months ago -- despite his father's reaction when he realized they would not wash off with soap and water.

    "He told me to burn them off and brought me some acid," he said, speaking in the shop where Shamael inscribed them.

    "I got into a fight with him, then my mother and brother got involved and said the damage had been done, and that if he poured acid it would just disfigure me."

    It's not just the risk of parental outrage that may make some Iraqis think twice about depicting a serpent on their calf or scribbling their lover's name on their forearm.

    Many Iraqis associate tattoos with prison, where convicts would give each other crude designs like heart shapes to while away the years. Others simply regard them as vulgar.

    Iraq's tiny community of heavy metal fans are big customers at Shamael's shop and some policemen are also keen. Three officers came in the other day to have the same winged skull design tattooed on their arms.

    In tribal areas, women are the guardians of arcane tattoo lore, sometimes using the breast milk of a mother nursing a baby girl to mix the pigment for medicinal patterns.

    Women, though, are a rarity in the parlor -- not because they don't want tattoos, Shamael says, but because they are too scared to venture out amid Baghdad's surge in crime.

    Speaking in his guitar studio a few doors down the corridor, Shamael's cousin Saad Sada, 35, believes his relative's work could one day win much wider acceptance.

    "I think tattoos are going to become more popular," he said. "Now it's turning into an art form."
  2. S@T@N

    [email protected]@N Senior Member

    Joined: Sep 15, 2002 Messages: 1,998 Likes Received: 0
    I'm not sure if I should be happy the art is spreading, or if I should be
    pissed that this is going to fuel some hate. I guess I'll take each part
    separately and end up interested more than pissed or happy.
  3. Kr430n5_666

    Kr430n5_666 Banned

    Joined: Oct 6, 2004 Messages: 19,229 Likes Received: 30
  4. »§ÜGÅR«

    »§ÜGÅR« Senior Member

    Joined: Aug 16, 2003 Messages: 1,519 Likes Received: 0
    that's the part that would freak me out..
    I know it's not a wealthy place, but, the same needle for EVERYONE? :yuck:
  5. GLIK$

    GLIK$ Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Jul 23, 2002 Messages: 22,277 Likes Received: 117
    no no, its ok.

    The will of Allah protects them from disease.
  6. fermentor666

    fermentor666 Veteran Member

    Joined: Sep 27, 2003 Messages: 8,152 Likes Received: 15
    Where is this guy getting a vial of acid from? How many people have acid just laying around the house, waiting to burn people's flesh with it?
  7. T=E=A=S=E

    T=E=A=S=E Elite Member

    Joined: Mar 27, 2004 Messages: 3,271 Likes Received: 0
  8. EyeforAnEYE

    EyeforAnEYE Elite Member

    Joined: Sep 29, 2003 Messages: 4,199 Likes Received: 3
    The dead will rise, for sure now.
  9. crave

    crave Veteran Member

    Joined: Jan 20, 2002 Messages: 6,728 Likes Received: 10
    they're just trying to find a way to grind against the norm. it's accepted that kids do it here (us.) i think it's kind of cool personally.

    however needle sharing is asking for trouble. fuck that.
  10. phism

    phism Member

    Joined: Mar 20, 2002 Messages: 735 Likes Received: 0
    doesn't sound much different than here, as far as parents reactions...

    uhh... so, what happens when the new government, whichever it may be, comes in and bans tattoos and kills this guy for doing them, or something. or not, you know, whatever.

    i'd get a tattoo that said "america hates me"...

    i'd damn near get one of those now, actually..

    MEROJUANA Senior Member

    Joined: May 23, 2002 Messages: 2,452 Likes Received: 2

    M E R O E
  12. Nekro

    Nekro Elite Member

    Joined: Feb 19, 2003 Messages: 2,568 Likes Received: 1
    My thoughts excactly. What is it with arabs and the acid-throwing?
  13. cloner

    cloner Senior Member

    Joined: Mar 29, 2004 Messages: 1,717 Likes Received: 0
    its just how they get down.

    we throw baseballs, they throw acid.
  14. KaBar2

    KaBar2 Senior Member

    Joined: Jun 27, 2003 Messages: 2,130 Likes Received: 66
    Various kinds of acid available cheaply

    Battery acid for car batteries, muriatic acid for cleaning shit, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid--you can buy acid at pharmacies, apothocary's shops, car repair places, lots of places like that. It's cheap. Everybody's afraid of getting acid thrown on them (oftentimes in poor neighborhoods, there is no running water in the houses, so it's not like here, where you just run to the nearest house and turn on a garden hose) so people threaten each other with it. And it's usually not fatal. And it's quiet, unlike a gunshot.

    In southwest Asia, it seems like people are always throwing acid on wives who won't behave, daughters-in-law, daughters who shame or dishonor the family, etc.

    Some lunatic shit, is all I can say.

    I wonder if this tattoo guy has a guard with a Kalashnikov guarding the stairwall down to his shop?
  15. StarzAbove

    StarzAbove Veteran Member

    Joined: Jul 15, 2003 Messages: 7,133 Likes Received: 6
    I'm sure the most popular tattoo's will be the ones defaming the US