Capturing the Iraqi street scene
I have mixed feelings when I pick up my camera and start filming on Baghdad's streets.
On the one hand, I feel good about being able to let the world know what is going on here. Being an Iraqi, I can go to places western cameramen can not go to. On the other hand, I am angry over what is happening to the people of Iraq.
Life gets harder everyday, and the poor are getting hit the hardest. The price of everything is going up, corruption is infesting the government, and to top it all off we are in constant danger because of the security situation.
You might say that it’s dangerous to do my work. Some of my friends who are also Iraqi cameramen refuse to film in crowds and at demonstrations anymore because in the past some of them were beaten up and had their cameras destroyed.
But when I am filming with my camera, I feel OK. I am not scared. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think I have instincts. I know what to ask, and how to ask it so that people around me do not get upset, especially if I am filming at angry demonstrations. I try not to judge. I try to be fair.
I wasn't surprised to see the big crowds hit the streets. Some people described the attacks on the tombs in Samara as an attack on their father's graves. Of course they went out and protested.
But you know, the direction of the anger has changed. A year ago everyone was angry at the Americans. Everyone thought they were responsible. But that is not the message I am getting on the street now. People know these attacks are being carried out by the extremists.
The situation may be tough for my job, but in the old days I would not have been able to shoot whatever I wanted. Under Saddam Hussein cameramen could never show pictures or film freely. They couldn't tell the real story.
That's all changed. The first image I ever filmed was the statue of Saddam Hussein being pulled down. That was my start.
It is a good job. When I see my pictures on TV, it really is all worth it. The hardship. The danger. It is worth it. Really.
* The names of NBC local journalists in Baghdad are not being used in order to protect their identity and security.
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