a Soldier and a Friend
The Life of Hamid 1978
His youth was spent with 4 brothers and a sister in the Marshlands of Southern Iraq, the land of the tall green reed, the water buffalos, and the winter home to migratory birds.
Like the marshlands, Hamid had a quiet nature.
He found comfort carrying a Sibha in hand. It was a clue to spot Hamid from many. His love of Sibha grew into a collection. Sibha is used culturally to reduce stress or as an indication of status in society
Iran–Iraq War 1980
As he turned 18, the quiet Marshes became home to a strange sound, the sound of war.
The scent of the Marshes was quickly replaced by the odor of gunpowder. The birds chose new lands to spend their winter.
The sense of peace was gone
Iran–Iraq War 1988
Hamid and his 4 brothers were drafted to an 8 years war between Iraq and Iran.
Hamid’s mother “Shareefa” vowed she shall wear a white dress if her 5 sons returned home from the war.
8 years later, August 20th
Mother Shareefa welcomed her 5 sons wearing white.
- The war was over -
Gulf War 1990
The 8 years of war were as hard on the Iraqi economy as Mother Shareefa on her 5 sons.
Saddam Hussein launched a televised verbal attack on Kuwait for a list of breaking the rules of OPEC,
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Saddam ordered the Iraqi armoured divisions to invade Kuwait.
Gulf War 1990
The war was over
Mother Shareefa questioned her vow, as she watched her 5 sons re-drafted into another war.
Hamid and Najlaa 1990
-Three months into the war
And with an army bonus pay of “5000 Iraqi Dinar” and his family’s strong encouragement, Hamid married Najlaa, a young lady at the age of 19 years, on November 2nd.
After 3 days of marriage, Hamid was shipped off to the war.
He arrived in his brother’s uniform with his wedding suit packed away.
Gulf War again 1991
With Saddam Hussein ignoring the deadline set by the UN, a military coalition of 35 nations launched Operation Desert Storm on January 17th.
Iraq announced it was withdrawing its forces from Kuwait. However, still refused to accept all the UN resolutions passed against it.
- Another war was over -
Highway of Death 1991
After hearing the withdrawal news. Hamid and his close friend Naif headed back north to Iraq with the Iraqi 10th Armoured division.
-Nighttime, February 26th
Coalition air strikes targeted them for 2 nights as they left Kuwait along highway 80, commonly referred to as the
Highway of Death.
Another war was over
Hamid and Naif 1991
Naif was injured in one of the air attacks. Hamid carried his injured friend on his right shoulder towards a rusty oil pipe, a small beacon of shelter.
Halfway there, an air attack killed both men.
and A Friend 1991
-Two months later
And after searching 17 graves, Hamid’s brothers Mardan, Sharwan, and Shakir found him in a shallow grave next to Naif.
-Four months later
Najlaa gave birth to a boy named Ahmed on August 24th
War illustrated Hamid’s loyalty as a friend, but robbed his wife of a husband and his son of a father.
Neither Hamid nor his son Ahmed had the chance to see one another ever.
Hamid (3rd from top right)
Hamid (bottom right)
Hamid (top right), Shakir (top center)
Hamid (left), Shakir (center), Mardan (right)
Hamid (Gulf War)
Hamid (right) with his father Kamil
Hamid with his nephews
My trip home with a stop to explore the past
Project made under the influence of
- Oud Music
- Tea (Chai)
- The Guardian
- Iraqi Archive
- Hamid’s Family
- Oud Music
- Ido Romano