Zoriah: War Photographer Diaries – Into the Mouth of Madness
Into the Mouth of Madness
words and photographs by Zoriah
It’s mid afternoon and the sun is struggling to find its way through millions of tiny particles kicked up in today’s sand storm, casting a yellow haze and ominous glow across Baghdad. I am with a platoon of US Army soldiers. We are gathering our flak vests, helmets and protective gear and heading out to a group of armored vehicles.
(click here to read the rest of Zoriah's diary entry)
After a short briefing about the mission -- threats we might face and procedures to undertake should we be hit by rockets, IED’s, snipers, ambush’s etc, -- we are loaded into a four vehicle convoy and are heading into the heart of Sadr City. The mission is simply to visit several checkpoints along the recently completed Sadr City wall. This is reason I am in Iraq.
We go along the Sadr City Wall, a highly controversial project which has effectively walled two to four million Iraqis inside the planets most dangerous neighborhood. The US Military sees it as a show of strength to the insurgents who call Sadr City home, as well as a way to control who enters and exits the city. The locals see it as another hostile move by the occupying forces, a major inconvenience for working and moving from place to place, as well as a potential danger since peaceful residents may not be able to escape when more rounds of the fierce fighting erupt.
Approaching the wall gives me an eerie feeling, a reminder of the wall separating Israel and Palestine, what I have seen of the Berlin wall and, of course, other areas of Baghdad which are now also similarly enclosed. The wall project is nearly complete now, and the local Iraqis seem stunned and disconcerted by the new addition to their neighborhood. I see an elderly woman carrying what must be an extremely heavy package of vegetables on her head, and wonder how much longer her journey to the market is now with this massive new concrete impediment in her way.
My first impression of the wall assures me that I made the right decision in coming here to document this.
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