Shuttered lives: Iraq through the eyes of its women
Published: 28 September 2007
The creators of new exhibition asked ordinary women to take pictures of daily life under occupation. Here are a selection of their extraordinary photo diaries.
I love Iraq. I don’t want to live anywhere else. Everyone I love is here: my granny, my aunt, my uncle, all my family and friends. Everyone we know and love is going away, my friends Nazaline and Aya and Hayat, the school bus drivers. My friend Taqa’s dad went to Syria, my friend Nour’s uncle to Egypt. The most important thing in my life, besides my mother and family, are my friends. Nour and Zeinab are my best friends now. In my class, we used to have three rows of desks, 10 in each row. Now we have two rows, with just five girls in each row.
My husband distanced himself from me for a month after I was kidnapped and my mother still blames me for ruining the family. I open my eyes. I see the gun by my bed. My husband and I no longer talk, nor do we laugh together. We worry someone will attack us. I used to watch out of the window and feel alive. Now I make sure my face is hidden by the curtain. I look with longing at the street that was alive once upon a time.
Everything in my city has been looted, stolen and burnt. Basra used to be full of life. Now, everything is black. Women are compelled to wear black robes and veils. My life has becomeblack. Everything is forbidden now: laughter, coloured clothes, music, walking in the markets, going to the parks. And the British who came in the name of liberating just watch it all, smiling.
My father used to walk all around Baghdad with my brother and me. He introduced us to the great history of our country. I wish that I could bequeath to my son what we inherited but they have killed this dream. We stand here in silence, remembering the people we loved now buried in the ashes of the books and manuscripts. Here we stand where they left us – Adnan, Ghanim, Kutaiba, Bilal, Bariq and many others whose names we don’t know.