Samir seems more tired lately. We drive past ‘bombed-out’ buildings in central Baghdad. “This city was so beautiful” Samir laments, “The only building they rebuilt was the Ministry of Oil. What kind of message does that send to the Iraqi people.”

Later Samir plays in the empty restaurant. He is looking older by the day. He comes to sit with me, we drink a beer, he smokes a fag, “Only two packs today,” he smiles. But he is in pain and worried. “My bones hurt Sean.” He looks up at me like a little boy talking to his mother. “Sean I think I am dying… the cancer is eating me. I need to get my blood checked but I don’t want the doctors to tell me something that will ruin the rest of my life. I am so scared.”

“Sean, I miss my wife. You know I still love her.” It has been 3 years since she walked out on him, frustrated with his philandering with foreign women. When she left he asked her to forgive him, she looked at him and left without saying anything, just wiping a tear from her eye. Samir cannot forget this, “I’m not chasing women anymore because of my wife, I keep thinking of her. But she is sick too.. Maybe we should die together in the States.”

“But you know the one thing I wanted to do in this world was to be famous. I couldn’t to it.. I know I am good at what I do, but I couldn’t be famous.” Samir reaches for his glass and drinks his beer. I look around the empty restaurant where he plays for two hours each night. “Maybe this film will make you famous Samir.” He smiles looking back at me. “Maybe..”

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