Nawar Tamawi’s Instagram Guide To Iraq.

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Meet Nawar Tamawi. Tamawi always hated the way Hollywood portrayed Iraq – either as an eternal warzone or a desert full of camels and belly dancers. He started taking pictures, as a way of fighting against these narrow (mis)conceptions about his country.

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Tamawi says instagramming allowed him to explore Iraq in a way he hadn’t done before – “through the vintage alleys of Baghdad, the ancient streets of Babylon, holy sites in Najaf and Karbala, the old citadel in Erbil, and to the tip of Mesopotamia, where the rivers Tigris and Euphrates meet in Shatt Al Arab, near Basra.”

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He has set a goal for himself to capture the beauty of all eighteen provinces of Iraq – unfortunately, some of the places he wants to visit are still largely dried out and neglected. He writes how life in Iraq is getting more unbearable, day by day.

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Tamawi writes:  “More and more, I feel…

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The Straw that Stirs the Drink: The Implications of Resurgent Religion for Strategists and Policy Makers

For those so inclined this is one of the more insightful perspectives on religion in diplomatic and military world affairs I have read.

By the way, I read Padre Steve’s take on world affairs, history, veterans issues, religion and baseball daily.

Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Progressive Realist in Wonderland

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

I am being published in the most recent issue of Campaigning: The Journal of the Joint Forces Staff College. The article will be available along with the rest of the journal at the website of the college, but I am posting it here. It is an interesting topic since religion is raising its head in numerous conflicts around the world, and is a very real part of the contemporary American political climate. Note, the pictures are not included in the Campaigning issue.

I hope that you enjoy.

Peace

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One can never separate war and the means by which it is fought from its political ends. There are, however, many societies whose language and religious ideology shape the leader’s political ends. To borrow the immortal words of legendary baseball slugger Reggie Jackson, religion is often “the straw that stirs the drink.” The fact that…

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Remembering Rachel Corrie: Letters from Palestine.

In my photos section you will see the armored bulldozers we used in Iraq. The largest bulldozers (D9s, weighing over 60 tons each with their armor) we borrowed from Israel. I wonder if any of the armored bulldozers I used in Iraq killed Rachel three years previously in Palestine?

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Rachel Corrie was an American peace activist and a member of the International Solidarity Movement. She was killed in 2003 (at the age of 23), by an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) armored bulldozer in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, during the height of the second Palestinian intifada.

After her death, Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner edited and directed the play My Name Is Rachel Corrie, based on Corrie’s diaries and e-mails home. The play was censored (put off stage) several times by some theaters. “Rachel Corrie lived in nobody’s pocket but her own. Whether one is sympathetic with her or not, her voice is like a clarion in the fog and should be heard,” Rickman said then.

In his article for The Independent Robert Fisk wrote:

“An American heroine, Rachel earned no brownie points from the Bush administration which bangs on about courage…

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Gallery Added

I have added a gallery of photos to help describe how I have gotten to this point. Writing out the captions was a great help to me and, hopefully, it will allow my friends and family to understand why I am as I am. I hope, too, that strangers may find the photos helpful as well, either to understand themselves or a loved one better, or just to receive the testimony and witness I want those photos to portray for those who have suffered in these wars.

What continues to strike me, a couple of days after I have posted these photos, is that these photos represent just a tiny percentage of my experiences and, more importantly, an amazingly small cross section of the lives changed, afflicted and destroyed by war.

You can find the photos, over 300 of them, by scrolling down to the right.