Since the Gulf War in 1990 and continuing through Operation Desert Storm in 1998 and the Iraq War in 2003, many people in the West have become desensitized to the extent of the suffering – the reality of the humanity – of the people of Iraq.
Frequently, we saw news stories showing the deaths of Western soldiers and gasped at the terrible infidel insurgents who had inflicted this terrible fate.
We passed over the fact that, in the mortar strikes and drone bombings which led up to the fatal attacks, hundreds of Iraqi civilians had been killed.
In fact, when the US and the rest of the NATO troops left Iraq in 2011 over 110,000 civilians had been killed in the crossfire of the war.
To us, with frequent media coverage of the terrors of the Iraqi insurgents and their constant alienation, many didn’t think twice about these deaths, many, dare I say, celebrated them as a Western victory over terror.
In recent weeks, Brandon Stanton, creator of the immensely popular blog, Humans of New York, has recently, on behalf of the United Nations, visited Iraq as part of a tour around the world.
He has continued his traditional photographing style – approach the person, smile and ask to take their picture, He then interviews them, and posts the photo, as long as a selected phrase from the interview on his blog.
The significance of him going to Iraq is in the lack of change he has made. He interviews people in the same way and talks to them the way he would a fellow American.
There are bad people in Iraq, bad people who have caused huge problems. There are bad people in the USA, bad people in England, bad people in China and Chile and Sweden.
There are also good people. Brandon Stanton and Humans of New York has given a rare Western insight into the people of Iraq, people who face the same problems as us. Normal people, good people.
Thank you, Brandon Stanton and Humans of New York.
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