Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Marking the tenth anniversary of the Iraq invasion with a photo sampler

These three photos come from The Atlantic magazine's series of photo essays commemorating the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. This is only a sampler of the 150 photos featured in The Atlantic. They each spoke to me in different ways. The above photo was taken on Wednesday, March 13, 2013. It shows a view of Baghdad's Firdos Square at the site of an Associated Press photograph taken by Jerome Delay as the statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down by U.S. forces and Iraqis on April 9, 2003. Ten years ago on live television, U.S. Marines memorably hauled down a Soviet-style statue of Saddam, symbolically ending his rule. Today, that pedestal in central Baghdad stands empty. Bent iron beams sprout from the top, and posters of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in military fatigues are pasted on the sides. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
I work in the arts and have often wondered about the fate of artists and musicians and writers during the war. A student practices playing the oud (above) at the Institute of Musical Studies in Baghdad, on October 21, 2012. The once quiet courtyards of Baghdad's Institute of Musical Studies, located in the busy Sinak area, where violence was rife during the height of Iraq's sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007, are thriving again as the Iraqi capital enjoys a noticeable ebb in violence (for now). Many of Iraq's most talented musicians fled during the rule of Saddam Hussein, fearing persecution for their political views and suffering from a lack of funding and exposure if they refused to glorify the leader in their art. Now, slowly, some musicians are making plans to come back, hoping to revive Iraq's rich musical tradition on home soil. (Reuters/Mohammed Ameen)
I've written a lot about veteran suicides during the past decade (go here and here and here). In the above photo, Matt and Cheryl Ecker hold a photo of their son, Army veteran Michael Ecker, in Champion, Ohio, April 19, 2012. In 2009, Michael committed suicide, shooting himself in front of his father. Veteran suicides remain a serious problem in the U.S. A recent Veteran's Administration study using data from 21 states between 1999 and 2011 suggested that as many as 22 veterans were killing themselves every day. (Reuters/Jason Cohn)

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