Thursday, 21 July 2011



One night in December 2003 the Americans soldiers made their first visit to our home

As the twenty three year old in charge of the team of go-go-go Rambo wanabees who were sifting through my mother’s sewing and bags of wool twitched and worried, my father sat in the living room in his dishdasha, with a set of worry beads in his hand.

As the girls clothes’ drawers were opened, my father started a conversation with the young boy-man soldier, they chatted I am told for about fifteen minutes, during which my father had gone into his usual educational mode, as it became clear to him that none of these people had a clue about the country they had been sent to “liberate”.

As he talked about history, civilisations and architecture, he jokingly remarked that if they cared to look in the bookcase they would find tourist guides for England, Italy, and Sweden, three countries he had visited, and that maybe the soldiers should have read a tourist guide to Iraq before they came to visit.

If he had had a copy of this guide he may well have given it to them.

The pictures are of another Iraq, an Iraq offering non-religious tourism.
What I have not included in this little compilation is the final several pages, of usual guide book information covering details of the local currency, the electric current, the water supply and telephone numbers (old style landlines) for cinemas, theatres, nightclubs, hotels, swimming pools, as well as hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.

For those Iraqis lucky enough to have access to this medium, but unlucky enough to have missed out on these sites (or indeed services) before they were “liberated” I offer you an extract from a tourist’s guide published in Iraq 1982.

And to any foreigners thinking of visiting, don’t bother; there is very little left to see and in most of the country you are no longer welcome.


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