Pictures in Baghdad is a photoblog from an Iraqi family: Faiza, Khalid, and MajiTriX (Majid). I don’t know much about them. Faiza wears a headscarf and works in a well-appointed office. Majid is a big fan of The Matrix.
One of the things that startles me whenever I see pictures of Baghdad is how much it looks like Mesa, Arizona did when I was growing up. There are photos of women sitting around a kitchen table, roadside watermelon stands, boxy little commerical buildings, loose light-brown soil, a few keenly-felt trees. If you’d showed me the photos of the PiB family’s garden and told me it was the back yard of a house a block away from my grandmother’s house, I’d have believed you.
It’s funny. I come home from work to a neighborhood that’s nothing like what I grew up with, except that both places are part of the United States; and look at snapshots of a foreign country, some of which look more like my vanished home town than anything I’ve seen in a long time.
Oh, well. Brooklyn’s a nice place too.
Other BiP photos of highways and a gas station have that peculiar desolateness of urban concrete and asphalt under the midday desert sun. They show a summer sky that’s flat and metallic, a pale grayish-blue that makes me want to reach for the AC knob on my nonexistent dash. Looking at that sky tells me that anyone who doesn’t have some shade, a good supply of water, and a cool place to sleep at night is going to be debilitated and miserable: Wait until the car’s cooled off before you get in. Don’t step on the pavement barefoot. Stop playing and come inside, your face is red. Don’t drink out of the cooler hose. Whatever it is, it can wait for evening.
(Anyone who thinks there’s something suspicious about celebrating a wedding at night must have grown up in a different climate.)
Check it out.