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All Days

Long Walk To Freedom

It’s never late in this day and age to speak your opinion. Nevertheless, to make a movement whether it’s for you or for the people around you who speak your language of choices.
I have always believed in the power of mind, the power of ideas. I took photography as a responsibility to capture the truth and beauty of my surroundings whether it’s good, bad, or ugly and during my quests, I stumbled upon people, and sites that will forever be part of my cherished memories.
I started my passion at a young age. I have always seen things as inside of a frame and everything worth to be photographed, and it is indeed traveling through times. However, my profession is not merely a hobby, it is a responsibility, as you may hear about Baghdad from the news and what this city had seen of wars and conflicts but it’s still warm and beautiful to me with all the corruption, I take it upon myself to tell the truth as suppose to filtering it “no pun intended”.
While I was a student in The Academy Of Fine Arts, the first time I stepped in the college of fine arts I felt I belong there, my mind was set and determined to take my career seriously as my eyes were soaking in all the beauty of my amazing city “Baghdad”. The beacon of art, history, and civilization. Therefore, I think it is only appropriate to show rather than tell the iconic and timeless sites of this regal city. So I take my camera and I go around places I have been to but every time I see something different something new to shoot things I never thought about, your feelings at the moment make you look at things differently.
The great city of Baghdad that poets and writers have sung along its long life span since it was built by Caliph Abu Jaafar Al-Mansour, Muhammad Mahdi Al-Jawahiri, al-Mutanabbi, Nazik al-Malaika and Badr Shakir al Sayyab, the painters, the musicians.
Think of Baghdad and for most people what comes to mind is a city of damaged buildings and concrete checkpoints. but there is more I think I want to show things in my city not as it presented on the media, people think it’s a dead city, but it’s not, there is something so magical about it, Baghdad has a history dating back to ancient Mesopotamia which tells you a lot of the beautiful architecture.

The October revolution some might say is long overdue considering that we lived through all the terror for more than fifteen years and counting. Yet, better late than never? It is here and that what matters. Millions of Iraqis from all ages and genders rose together to fight for what rightfully theirs, the city was lit up by their hopes and dreams but this is no happy ending story, those lights were forcefully dimmed. Baghdad has plenty of historical sights; but one, in particular, will be remembered the most and it is Al-Tahrir Square, it is the location where dreams were born and died.
It is the place where all religions chanted in the name of God. It is the spot where age was merely a number. It’s the place where the only profession that matters is being a supporter and the only welcomed ethnicity is Iraqi. For many years i drove by Al-Tahrir it never occurred to me that one day I would be standing among my people shouting my rights and be killed for it. I never thought that standing among people peacefully shouting words will scar us for life, physically and spiritually.
Nobody can foresee the future and i do not know what future holds for us; it could be dark and cold or maybe there’s indeed a light at the end of the tunnel. Either way, we are ready to face the unknown.

The tanks of malice wander.
My wound
Is turned away like an abandoned horse
Scorched by an Arabian sun,
Chewed by worms.
Picasso paints another Guernica,
Painting Baghdad under the feet of boors.
Freedom is a lute
Strummed by a nameless dwarf.
Paintings in Baghdad’s museums
Are at the mercy of the wind.
The Assyrian smiling bull is frightened.
Forced to leave, he is confused and weeping.
In the museum’s corners and bends,
Sumerian harps
Played a sorrowful melody.

—Bushra al-Bustani