Friday, November 15, 2013

Iraq in Fragments

Iraq in Fragments is  a 2006 documentary that investigates the state of post-invasion Iraq. Directed by James Longley, this film seeks to present Iraq through the eyes of its people. In order to accomplish this, Longley travels to the three largely fragmented areas of the country. As is brought out at the beginning of the film, southern Iraq is run by the Shias, central Iraq is run by the Sunnis, and the north is run by the Kurds. Amazingly, Longley is able to earn the trust of each group and capture their distinct opinions.

By allowing the people to tell their own story, Longley is able to paint a a picture that is quite different from sensationalized version of Iraq that is often portrayed in the media. Although most of the Iraqis harbor some resentment towards America, their reasoning is a lot more logical than some media outlets would lead you to believe. Firstly, most of the Iraqis interviewed did not support Saddam Hussein and were glad that America was able to get rid of him. However, these people were hit hard by the pre-war sanctions levied against them by the United States, who they argue was originally complacent towards Saddam. Additionally, many of the Iraqis feel that the invasion of their country was largely driven by the United States interest in oil. While the interviews only revealed so much about the people, it appeared as if most of these people did not have anti-American biases, but rather formed their opinions based on their experiences and they information presented to them.

The aspect of Iraq in Fragments that I enjoyed the most was its portrayal of the human element of the Iraqi people. Although they live half-way around the world, many of these people are more concerned with survival and their own internal conflicts than they are with the United States. One of the most heart-breaking stories in the documentary was 11 year old orphan in Baghdad. Without any family, this boy is forced to live with a garage owner who is seen shouting at the child. Through the use of stunning imagery, such as soldiers lining the streets and burning buildings, Longley is able to portray the struggle and division in Iraq.

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