Basra boatbuilders craft miniature models

These Iraqi boatbuilders craft miniature models

to preserve their family tradition and cultural heritage

Location: Basra, Iraq

Ibrahim Taha used to produce wooden boats

for fishing as well as transporting goods and people

Over the years, demand for boats have dropped drastically

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SON OF BOATBUILDER TAHA, ZAFIR NOUR IBRAHIM, SAYING:

"There is little demand for big boats. I will tell you the reasons. Because there is a limited number of fishermen, there is no encouragement. The huge (transport) boats we used to manufacture were distributed all over Iraq. They used to move people from Basra to Baghdad and to Amara. The fishing boats, all these vanished because there is lack of support. Secondly, the price of wood increased, the prices have become unbelievable. So our production slowed down.

Taha decided to start producing miniature models of boats

which he then sells to museums and individual buyers

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SON OF BOATBUILDER TAHA, ZAFIR NOUR IBRAHIM, SAYING:

"To protect our heritage, the heritage of Abu al-Khaseeb specifically, and of Basra and Iraq, we started to manufacture miniature boats. Because we love our heritage and because there is demand.”

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