Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

Trash on the Tigris

Monday, May 18, 2009

Check out this visual diary from the Times. It’s three days old, but I somehow missed it.

The Cradle of Civilization

Friday, February 23, 2007

rubbish.jpg Displaced people in Iraq are reduced to sifting through the trash to find food and “eke out a living,” Reuters reports this morning. IRIN had the above photo on file, so clearly this is nothing new.

Yesterday, while getting dressed to hit the gym before work, I grabbed a black t-shirt with the neck cut out from my drawer. It wasn’t the top I was looking for, but as I put it back, I noticed the design on the front. “Stop the War Against Iraq,” it read, next to the doe-eyed and somber face of a little girl in pig tails. I bought the shirt in 2000—long before the current invasion—to protest military sanctions, a.k.a. the “silent war,” on Iraq. A few months later, I got on a plane with a bunch of other Americans and headed off to Baghdad to commemorate the tenth anniversary of what we call the first Gulf War and what the people I met in Iraq referred to as “the American Aggression”.

It was an informative trip. A radical and perhaps misguided form of protest—defying the sanctions by traveling to Iraq with medical supplies, conducting what we called an objective fact-finding mission in a country whose government handlers don’t allow for such unobstructed investigations—but an informative trip nonetheless. In the end, a large part of why I went to journalism school was to learn a less subjective methodology for my fact finding than traveling on international delegations with clear political slants.

What I think about most often, though, were the college students I met while visiting a university. I look back at the photos we took together and marvel at the fact that, aside from my dorky name-tag, you’d be hard pressed to say which one was the visiting American and which were the Baghdad students.

That was six years ago. I wonder where they are now.

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