These photos look almost biblical, don’t they?
And the name of the third river is Tigris: that which goes toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. (Genesis 2.14)
When you finish reading this book, tie a stone to it and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates. (Jeremiah 51:63)
The swift cannot flee away, nor the warrior escape; in the north by the river Euphrates they have stumbled and fallen. (Jeremiah 46:6)
I thought the above photos were of the Tigris river, but after looking at Google map I’m thinking it’s the Euphrates because it is that river which flows through the fertile valley surrounding Najaf. Kaïss travelled south from Baghdad to the Shia holy city of Najaf, home to the largest Islamic cemetary in the world. The cemetary is called Wadi Al-Salaam (Valley of Peace) and it contains over 5 million bodies (or rather, souls.)
Here’s Kaïss visiting his father’s grave. His dad was killed during the first Gulf War when George H. W. Bush launched “Operation Desert Storm”, onto the country in January 1991. For five weeks, Iraq was subjected to the most intensive air bombardment in military history. Over 100,000 sorties were flown, over 88,500 tons of bombs were dropped. One casualty out of thousands was Kaïss’s father who died in the streets of Baghdad, like a dog, of smoke inhalation.
I’m sorry, but I’ve made an error. Kaïss’s dad wasn’t killed in 1991, he was killed in 2003, a victim of George Bush Junior’s “Shock and Awe” military assault on the country. While Baghdad was ablaze with thick clouds of smoke, he died in the street. Like a dog.
Here are some professional photographs of Wadi Al-Salaam. All photos by Alaa al-Marjani/Reuters.