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"In 2003 I found a thumb drive of family photos in the rubble of Baghdad, Iraq. I've never had the heart to throw it out. Thought I'd share." - posted by a user on a sharing site
I found this on a sharing site this morning, with an "album" of photos and couldn't stop thinking about it.


I revisited the posting this afternoon. As discussion progressed the poster explained he was in Iraq working for the state department and and with a private contractor, he found the thumb-drive in the rubble and never had the heart to throw it out. He'd like to find the owners.

The album includes what looks like scanned photos, and images from a camera. They show what might be generations of one family or friends, who knows? The photos included men and women, and children the latter behaving as children do in photos.  There were comments from people who were familiar with the area who noted that the clothing and even license plate indicate the people are Kurdish.  

There were thousands of comments; I posted several that struck me as poignant along with links to the album and one of the sharing sights where the album was shared below the squiggle.

I have to admit I realized today how much I don't know about the cultures in that area of the world. I had to refresh myself on the plight of the Kurdish, and that research really has me wondering if these people will ever be reunited with their photos.

The comments that stuck with me all day, were these:

from a commenter:

Also I think some of the pictures should be removed in respect to the family. There are pictures of an older woman without a scarf on and those pictures are probably meant to be private. I mean I assume she wears it. It's not a big deal to me but I feel guilty knowing this and think I should say something.

Edit: The pictures were removed thank you! As far as peoples questions about age, females do not have to wear the scarf until there about age 9 I believe. To my understanding you begin to wear the scarf at a certain age. Younger girls do not have to wear scarfs because it is not mandatory. it's only when your older and your body begins "changing" that you wear it. The scarf is suppose to hide the hair of the female to preserve and hide her beauty. To prevent lust, i guess. When she marries only her close family husband can see it.

from another commenter:
You should probably take the last photo down and some of the other portraits of the woman in the black headscarf down, too. They aren't family photos. The posing and lipstick also suggests they are private "glamour shots", as well. Particularly the last photo of her.
from the poster who removed those photos right away:
I can only apologize. I do know better, but simply didnt think when i posted. I've removed any photos of adult women w/o scarves, and ask that everyone understand that my intention was not to offend. I've sadly had these photos for over a decade and always felt that someone else should see them; it never occured to put them on reddit until i actually did. Frankly i'm amazed and a little intimidated by the attention they've gotten.

I found them walking through the Karadah district when i first got to iraq, so... august? 2003, maybe. I was not a soldier- i did work for the us state department in a minor capacity and was a contractor for several years. I did know a lot of women who did not wear hijab, but i understand its importance and again, apologize.

After several people suggested the people in the photos might have been lost in the war:
Sulaymaniyah is the Kurdistan part of Iraq. The war wasn't there, it's actually the safest place in Iraq and the countries around it. I am from Erbil, it's a city 1 hour from Sulaymaniyah and i've been there so many times. Ill check if my parents knows any of these people

Edit1: OOOMMMMGGG, HOW BIG IS THE CHANCE!!! My mother knew one of the girls in the pictures, the girl on the picture was in one of my cousins weddings about 3 years ago. My mother is about to call around and get a phone number of their family and tell them about their lost pictures. My father confirmed from the old ladies cloth that they are from a certain location in Kurdistan, and that rock... My father has a picture from there aswell.

Edit2: Well, we did our best, there is my parents couldnt find any connection to that girls family throw our cousins. I guess this is reality everything doesn't end as happily as we thougt it would, but we gave it a shot. The last bit of information we gathered from our cousins who had heard of her, which was at the day of the wedding, is that she was studying for chemistry and that she was a quite smart person... //Damn it, it itches me to be that close to something and fulfill it!! Srry guys if i dissapointed your expectations, but as i said, its reality. <3

Sorry for my bad english, my third language

And I love this, when we visit other countries for an extended period of time, we can often find similarities with people whose world, on first impression, seems so so different:
I spent a year in Iraq while I was in the Army (Camp Taji, in Al-Taji, 10 miles north of Baghdad 10/2005-10/2006), and spent a lot of time with Iraqi civilian workers, who performed various construction jobs around base. I was their "liason" to bring them on base, supervise them when they were at their vehicle yard when they weren't on jobs (there were separate soldiers who fulfilled that role), and assisted them with getting lunch, supplies, and pay checks.

The thing that struck me the most, was how incredibly similar to Americans the average Iraqis were. They all loved their kids and wanted to make money so they could give them a better life. They all loved action movies and nice cars. Most of them had great senses of humor, and they smiled a lot. Most of all, they all wished an end to the violence that gripped their country so they could live peaceful, successful lives and give their children the best prospects for a good future. They were very proud of their country and its past.

These pictures reaffirm those feelings of brotherhood I shared with those Iraqis. Look at them. Road trips, smiling kids posing, family all together laughing on the couch.....they could be any family in America.

Full album can be found here:
The original sharing site was Reddit (still new to it myself) - will post link shortly
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    Women are 51% of the population yet are represented in congress by barely 17%! Until our representation reflects the population, we risk sliding backwards .....

    by 51percent on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 02:48:54 PM PST

  •  I understand about the scarf thing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball, Dirtandiron

    When I was teaching video in Saudi Arabia, there was a tremendous fuss about not shooting the women teachers without their being "covered." It was strange to me, honestly, but they were so serious about it, I complied without question.

    As you did -- you were quite wonderful about it. The way I understand it, the women without being covered would be shamed themselves and their families would also be shamed. So it is enormously important to them.

    However, I will say this: I think someone will recognize these photos. I am going to forward this to a woman I met in Iraq in 2003. She lived in Mosul, also north of Baghdad, and can ask her family there if they can learn the identities of those photographed.

    Bless you for not throwing the drive away!

    •  nope! not me! I wasn't in Baghdad - this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1, cherie clark

      was on Reddit this morning and I was following it all day. I have shared it on as many sharing sites as I can think of, and with a friend who was in Iraq and made friends, some who were lost in the war, to share it.

      I had to think about it, as it it was someone else's to share - the photos are posted in a public place, and Ive sent a message to the person on reddit, where I found it posted. I need to make sure people know it's not me who found the photos.

      I just hope, like so many others who are sharing it, that somewhere along the way the owner of these photos is found and all of those people are alive and well....

      Women are 51% of the population yet are represented in congress by barely 17%! Until our representation reflects the population, we risk sliding backwards .....

      by 51percent on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 03:10:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My grandfather carried the picture of a young (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        German woman and two small children with him until the day he died. It was from the only person he knew he killed in WWI, he wanted to contact her too but of course it just wasn't possible, we just hoped they were well and survived the war.

        The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die. ~ Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy

        by cherie clark on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 05:58:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  how did they do it? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cherie clark

          How did they live through it?
          I remember watching a documentary about vietnam vets going back to vietnam to find family members of - some of those - they killed.
          What we ask our soldiers to do ...

          Women are 51% of the population yet are represented in congress by barely 17%! Until our representation reflects the population, we risk sliding backwards .....

          by 51percent on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:34:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  My grandfather suffered from PTSD but in those (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            days they called it shell shock. He spent a year in the hospital because of it. He never ever ever talked about it. Altho he taught my oldest French when he was a toddler. Everything except the photo was kept in a trunk in the attic, the maps of their battle positions, his diary, all of it.

            The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die. ~ Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy

            by cherie clark on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:42:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  oh - and I had to remind myself that the scarf (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is called a hijab ... I used to know all of this, but am no longer working in a place where I need to know this. Time to expand horizons.

      Women are 51% of the population yet are represented in congress by barely 17%! Until our representation reflects the population, we risk sliding backwards .....

      by 51percent on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 03:13:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Reminds me of scene in 1977 TV series "Holocaust" (0+ / 0-)

    … where the boy finds a photo in the grand piano, and aks his father who the people in the photo are.

    The viewer knows that it's the family the piano and apartment belonged to, before they were all taken away.

    The father says, "Oh — it doesn't matter. Run along now," and throws the photo into the fire.

    But it does matter.

    This time, what our country did to that family and their country is on us and our children.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 02:15:37 AM PST

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