Michael Totten

Aftermath of a Bombing

Earlier this year “I visited the Iraqi city of Karmah”:http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2008/03/the-liberation.php (also spelled Garma), a small city wedged between Fallujah and Baghdad. It was winter, and a time of jubilation and rebirth after the local defeat of the ferocious murder and intimidation campaign waged by Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Zoriah Miller, an excellent professional photographer I met last summer in Baghdad, is there now. And he witnessed the immediate aftermath of a horrific suicide bombing just a few days ago. Safety and security in Iraq are, as ever, relative and tentative concepts.
I’m glad Zoriah is okay. Others, however, are not. I know from speaking to him that he was badly shaken up by what he saw and managed to photograph in the few fleeting minutes he was allowed on the scene.
I don’t know why, exactly, I’m bringing this to your attention. Partly it is because Zoriah is a better photographer than I. His pictures in general are worth seeing. (He makes his living strictly by selling photographs, while I’ve made a mere pittance at that task myself.) It is also, I suppose, because the city of Karmah is somewhat important to me personally. I witnessed the re-opening of the market there right after the suicide- and car-bombers were mostly, but not completely, beaten back.
There’s another reason, too, one I can’t even articulate to myself. I think it’s important, at least once in a while, to look at the gruesome handiwork of a suicide bomber. There is no political message in this. Zoriah, I know, has different opinions than I do about Iraq and what should be done about it even though we have seen and experienced some of the same places and people. I do not mean to propagandize or persuade by showing this to you. Make of it what you will. But look, if you can stand it, at what these killers do. “This is now part of our world”:http://www.zoriah.net/blog/suicide-bombing-in-anbar-.html.