Tuesday, 13 November 2007

New York Times: Bab El-Sheikh (Iraq)

Image © Johan Spanner/NY Times-All Rights Reserved

Every week, I try to feature a post -using editorial or documentary photography- that relates to current world news or international politics, to which I add my perspective and opinions.

The New York Times brings us an audio slideshow from Baghdad's neighborhood of Bab El-Sheikh (ie door of the sheikh), which has the reputation of being an island of tolerance amongst the horrors of sectarian strife in this unfortunate capital city. The neighborhood is ancient, and goes back more than a thousand years ago, when Baghdad ruled the Islamic world.

Nowadays, Bab El-Sheikh is still extraordinary because here, Sunnis, Shias, Kurds and Christians live together with ease...woven together by its ancient, shared past, bound by trust and generations of intermarriage.

The narration of the slideshow is by Karim Hilmi, an Iraqi Shia (he pronounces it in the erroneous American way as Shitte- presumably so that we will understand) who lived in the neighborhood since his youth. The photography is by Johan Spanner.

I'd like to see more of these reportages where it's local Iraqis, narrators, photographers, journalists, who tell us and show us what is happening to their country. It would humanize the Iraqis in our eyes...and make us understand that these are people just like us, who are living under unimaginable conditions, partly caused by our military occupation of their country.

The NY Times' Bab El-Sheikh