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Members of the Iraqi band Acrassicauda are in exile right now and they need your help to survive. The band - the only heavy metal band from Iraq - received death threats for being "too westernised" and fled the country recently to Syria.

The musicians are featured in the documentary feature film "Heavy Metal in Baghdad", which had its world debut at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month. The documentary follows the band from the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 to the present day as they struggle to play music despite the security risks of organising an event in Baghdad, and the bombing of their practice space.

The filmmakers, Toronto-born Suroosh Alvi and Eddy Moretti, travelled to Iraq to capture the band's story in a film that will appeal even to those who are not fans of this music genre. The filmmakers say, "Playing heavy metal in a Muslim country has always been a difficult (if not impossible) proposition but after Saddam's regime was toppled, there was a brief moment for the band in which real freedom seemed possible. That hope was quickly dashed as their country fell into a bloody insurgency... Their story echoes the unspoken hopes of an entire generation of young Iraqis."

According to an article by the UN news service IRIN in November 2006, the Iraqi Artist's Association said that most Iraqi singers had already fled the country and "at least 75 singers had been killed since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003."

This year, band members fled to Syria where they are currently at risk of deportation when their visas run out on 10 October. According to the film's producers, the Syrian government is becoming more hostile to Iraqi refugees and has started sending them home.

The producers are trying to help the band find a safer country and are asking for donations - no matter how small - so that these young men and their families do not have to go back to Iraq and face the real possibility of death.

To donate now via Paypal, click here:

- Heavy Metal in Baghdad:
- Freemuse/IRIN on musicians killed:
(18 September 2007)

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