Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

Every time I visit Iraq in pictures, I die another little death.  

Yesterday I was in Sadr City.  I insisted that I would stay — even while I watched families leaving the city ahead of the rumored air raids.  I sat eating a nervous breakfast when I heard a whirr and a violent crash; I went deaf a split second before the US mortar round killed me.  I was a thirty-five year old woman; how had I survived that long?


I’ve edited my face into the circumstances;  see below.


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Click on the pictures below to find what doesn’t belong.

herhousework.jpg    herbovines.jpg    herdog.jpg

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If you happen to be motionless while a procession is under way, take note the reason.

Did you take breakfast through your ear? Did you swallow the warm broth of your sinuses? Did you not see, but trip over, a knot of copulating birds? And what about the stream of liquid from the lower mouth of your intestines? Your stomach groans; whatever will you have for dinner?

Maybe you are in Baghdad and haven’t yet died. Then again, maybe this is your own little death. Are a handful of friends or acquaintances there to lift your spirits when you are sunk into the depths? Is this your funeral procession?


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Pigment (recipe)

Method of Making Pigment.

A method for making the dye for tattooing is as follows. Put a piece of blue cotton cloth (color nil, “indigo”) in a dish with ordinary dihn (mutton fat used for cooking), and set this rag afire. Hold a second plate over it to catch the smoke. When the rag has finished burning, the soot is scraped off the bottom of the upper plate and put in a cup or tea glass (istikan) and mixed with a little water.

“A Tattooer at Mosul,” p.78 in Body-Marking in Southwestern Asia, 1958.


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The charm, a souvenir from her stay


(tucked inside a humble enclosure). 


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fastenings of a laborer

This woman is fierce in her sartorial ingenuity.  

Likely a rural laborer, her face covering — kept in place with an overlapping system of bands and kerchiefs — might function as protection from dust. Indeed, of the Iraq pictures I’ve seen lately, a great many women show a sort of Wahabist turn in covering everything but their eyes.  Something quite different from years past. 

In any event, I delight in a combination of tailored pleats at the shoulders, with a safety pin implemented for cooperation of lapels and collar.  I am in love with this woman.



    shoulder-sm.jpg   pin-sm.jpg                 


More or less, the original caption: 

 An Iraqi woman waits while US soldiers search her house 20 kilometers south of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Nov.30, 2007. (AP Photos/Petr David Josek) 


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