Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Looking Through an Iraqi Officer's Family Photos

11 June, 2003 ...Continued

What we did find in the captain’s luggage along with these three captives, were lots of family photos going back 50 plus years into the life of this officer, and paperwork showing his membership in the PLO. I decided to look through some of the pictures that were overlooked by the intel guys because they didn’t offer much. I saw this guy’s past. I suppose I saw the wedding pictures of his parents – in black and white. They looked very nice, dignified, civilized. There were various other black and white pictures of family members, and they all looked European, and wearing good clothes. Then I started finding pictures of this man when he was a child – one in particular was a group picture of smiling children with a destroyed building burned and twisted behind them. Then there were pictures of him as a teenager, then older, obviously traveled – looking excited to be staying in a hotel room. He had pictures of himself posing with furniture and the refrigerator. Then came some pictures of him in his mid to late 20’s, again, traveling, walking down narrow market streets with his buddies. Then came the Iraqi army photos. There was a picture of him standing in a reception line, with very nervous looks on their faces. They were getting Baath Party medals.
There was also a video taken, and we watched it. It was simply a wedding video with all the Arab world-meets-video editing gaudiness. Of course people watching were saying “Show us your tits! Show some ass!” I just left. The biggest thing I remember from yesterday was the pictures. I thought it revealed something – perhaps it showed a life gone from civility to chaos. How did this man go from a happy child on a photo, to a man on the run? I think back to the picture of the kids in front of the destroyed building. Did that experience, perhaps in Palestine circa 1970, change his life? I was young like him too once, and I was going new places – one of those places being Ireland, to get involved in politics there. Young, idealistic, and patriotic. That is something I need to write about too – the conversation I had with an Irishman in the Army at Camp Udairi. That is an interesting story.


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