The Stone of Happiness

Azher Jirjees

The events of The Stone of Happiness take place in Mosul and Baghdad between 1962 and 2018. After his younger brother drowns in the river Tigris in Mosul, young Kamal Touma runs away, terrified of his father's brutal reaction, and hides in a fearsome place known as the 'garden of spirits.' Just before boarding a lorry heading south to the capital city, he picks up a small stone. Upon arrival in Baghdad, he searches for a place of refuge and finds himself in Khan al-Rahma, where he grows up in an atmosphere blighted by poverty and fear. Yet he finds comfort and strength to carry on pursuing his dreams from the strange stone. Kamal meets a professional photographer who helps him fulfil his personal and professional destiny, becoming an itinerant photographer himself, roaming through alleyways and markets and recording the life of the city and its people. As the years pass and the country goes through hard times, armed militias occupy the district where Kamal lives, and his life is turned upside down. Fear begins to ravage the inner peace he had always strived to preserve.      




Dar Al-Rafidain - Lebanon


2023 Shortlist