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Archbishop Warda and Iraq’s Christians Denounce BBC Documentary for Omissions

Promotional poster for a new documentary about Iraq produced for the BBC and PBS. (BBC/PBS/Frontline)

A new five-hour documentary series on the social impact of the Iraq War made for the BBC and PBS has been roundly criticized for entirely ignoring the plight of Iraq’s persecuted Christians and other minorities.

In an Aug. 20 open letter to the BBC, Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil in northern Iraq said the airbrushing of any mention of the country’s minorities in the program, called Once Upon a Time in Iraq, raised “grave concerns” about the program’s editorial process.

Made by British filmmaker James Bluemel and aired on the BBC over the summer, the series aims to offer a “personal archive from civilians and soldiers from both sides of the conflict.”  

Those interviewed share their personal accounts and recollections of life under Saddam Hussein, the U.S.-led invasion, and the years of chaos and hardship that followed, including sectarian violence and the atrocities carried out by the Islamic State group, which occupied parts of northern and central Iraq from 2013 to 2017.

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