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On May 2, 2015, two bombs killed about 20 people and injured dozens more in the busy Karrada district of Baghdad.

Unfortunately, occurrences like this are all too common in the region, as are the feelings of fear, distress, and grief that linger.

But what happened next in Karrada made this day quite different.


Karim Wasfi, the conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, brought his cello to the bombing site.

Right there, amidst the rubble and the chaos, he sat down and played.

A crowd began to form. People gathered with cameras and loved ones and allowed the power of the music to wash over them. Wasfi said this in an interview with Al Jazeera:

"[People] loved it. Soldiers cried. They kissed, they clapped, they felt alive, they felt human and they felt appreciated and respected."

Some folks might wonder why this accomplished musician would sit and play music in such a place. Here was the answer he gave Al Jazeera:

Isn't that the truth?

Music and art can transcend even the most awful situations to remind us of our humanity.

Wasfi said he doesn't want people of Iraq to only think of death on a daily basis, but rather to remember that life is lived every day.

Watch the video below to see Wasfi's moving performance.

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