The weather of the Arabs - Ibn Manzoor - an Arab writer, historian and scholar - mentions that "Iraq: from Persia... it was called that because it is on the shore of the Tigris, and it was said that it was called Iraq because of its proximity to the sea, and the people of Hijaz call what was close to the sea Iraq. And in the dictionaries of the language in a form In general, the race means "the origin of everything", and between the Tigris and the Euphrates, and when the land of Iraq reveals its generosity to you, those origins appear before your eyes in terms of population, soil and heritage, and despite this, it is a land that bears meaning and its opposite in one image.
In 2022, the ICRC delegation in Iraq, in cooperation with the Iraqi Red Crescent, held its annual photography competition on climate change. And this dry and academic subject was transformed into vibrant images in which nature itself speaks of this phenomenon, thanks to the artistic sensitivity of the eyes of the participating photographers.
Have you visited Iraq before? If you did, perhaps what you will see in those pictures will be different from the reality and the original that I saw one day, and it makes you wonder if my memories were a mirage!
And if you have never visited it, you will not find in those photos a statistic about it stating that “Iraq is the fifth country most vulnerable to climate deterioration in the world.”
A large dust storm generated as a result of the desertification of the region due to drought. | Photographed by Sayed Sabbar Sayed
These are the lands of Iraq, which were once adorned with green and resplendent with their fertility. We are witnessing them today as yellow creeps over them patiently and slowly, turning their air into sand. As for its people, who are accustomed to receiving the rain with cheerful faces, they now put the veil on their faces. Because it is raining dirt.
The waste hill in Sulaymaniyah obscures the green land and mountains. | Photographed by Farman Aziz Saleh
see? Return sight. Are you wondering how waste hills, clear skies and green earth come together in one scene? Will those hills ever touch the clouds? Behind the high hills of waste in Sulaymaniyah, the beauty of Iraq is still spreading as far as the eye can see, captivating your eyes, and imprinting in your memory, even when it is gradually obscured by the high hills of ugliness.
The dryness of the marshes in Dhi Qar al-Chibayish captured by a drone. | Photographed by Hassan Ali Abdel-Reda
When you step foot on that bank, and we tell you that here are the "marshes" in Dhi Qar al-Chibayish in Iraq, you most likely think that you will enjoy your eyes by seeing the sparkle of the sun's rays on the fresh water page, and the sound of its intense rush steals your hearing, but now and the situation is what the picture tells, the seer may doubt The water overflowed here one day as long as the boats hugged the barren land from the intensity of thirst.
A girl from Chibayish district, while searching for water, leaves her house, heading to what is left of the water after the drought. | Photographed by Ali Karim Al-Sari
How about the children's feelings here? They have doubts about how the region was once and their steps touch the cracked and dry ground, and the only witness to the bounty of the marshes is the memory of the ancestors. Grandparents saw green, fertility and water, and children lived through dry land, drought and drought.
A man heads to what remains of the marshes to fetch sedge and reeds to feed the cattle, after drought has befallen the entire village | Photographed by Wadha' Abdul-Karim Falih Al-Omari
And between one generation that saw water and another that saw drought, the middle generation saw both at the same age, for it is a generation that has nostalgia that makes it regretful, and hope that urges it to dream that the situation will one day return to the way it was. In this photo, in Dhi Qar al-Chibayish, a man steps on the land of a completely thirsty village, heading for what remains of the marshes to bring reeds and sedge to feed his cattle.
Golden cracks on the land of Al-Faw in the far south of Iraq | Photographed by Alaa Kamel Abdel
This is the present, traces of steps on a land that has receded from it, but what tomorrow awaits it? The answer is shrouded in ambiguity as long as we think of climate change as a distant catastrophe, although Iraq is already living through it, and its population believes in the phenomenon without the need for numbers, statistics and comparisons. Because it is their life every day.
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