Now More Than Ever, Iraq Needs Cameras - 04.19.2006

Now more than ever Iraqis need control of media production tools. The failure of the press to adequately cover the recent Adhamiya conflict is only the latest evidence.

I didn’t hear from my friend Isam for three days. As some of you know we work together to write stories about the situation in Iraq. I met Isam near the Adhamiya neighborhood last fall when we were both conducting interviews with employees of a women’s advocacy organization.

Isam lives in Adhamiya, and as many of my readers may have heard, there have been some fierce clashes there in the last few days.

The line of the mainstream press appears to be “Iraqi Police were attacked by insurgents and worked to repel attacks.”

My colleague Dahr Jamail and Arkan Hamed already have a piece about the fighting published by Inter Press Service.

Finally today I heard Isam’s account of what happened:

I recieved your message friend,and i tried to send you my answer but i couldn’t, there is problem with the phone network.

I was very busy for days ago and i was help Aadhamiya people when we were baried our friedn who get killed by US troops and they were my close friend ,I feel very sad for them ,i lost them for ever and i was filming at that time but there familes asked me to dont use these filmes and i promised them to do that and i damaged all the film.

It was just lie the Iraqi police came to Aadhamiya and tried they start shoot everywhere with out reason and they shoot to the houses and to the cars and they killed twoo from Aadhamiya and after that Aadhamiya people start resisting them and the win at the end and they push the police out ,and after all that the minstry of interior said they were not police ,i saw them they were police and they came with more than 30 police cars and they just lie and lie and after that the US troops came and help them and killed other 5 persons from Aadhamiya .

If there was clearer evidence for the need of independent verification of the situation in Iraq, I can’t tell you what it would be. I’ll be travelling back to the Middle East next month. I’m appealing to my readership to consider donating camera equipment to take back to the Middle East. Please consider donating cameras or money for cameras.

Iraqis need the equipment and the training. Iraqis are the only people capable of accurately telling their stories and providing honest insight into daily life in Baghdad and elsewhere.

President Bush today said:

“I don’t expect everybody to agree with my decision to go into Iraq. But I do want the people to understand, the American people to understand, that failure in Iraq is not an option.”

And now in response, and I know its a bit dramatic, I say to you,

“I don’t expect all of my friends and family to understand why I’m returning to the Middle East. But I do want all of my friends, family, and readers to understand, that failure to empower Iraqis to tell their own stories is not an option.”

Please help this project to succeed. Don’t let the deaths of Iraqis go unnoticed. Don’t let Isam’s efforts go unheralded.

Dust off your old 2 and 3(or 5 and 6!) mega pixel digital cameras forgotten in a drawer, donate your old 1 chip(or 3 chip!) camcorder, mail some extra tapes or cash for incidentals/cameras, do whatever you can do.

Email me for more ideas, or with your questions!

aliveinbaghdad at

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