Dean Lewins: Rebuilding Iraq - for AAP
In 2007 I travelled to Iraq with the Australian Defence Force for AAP.
A 7 day whirlwind public relations jaunt. Overnight stay at Camp Victory, 24 hrs in Bahgdad’s green zone with a visit to US headquaters and a 70 kph ride in an Armoured Personnel Carrier to a live firing range on the outskirts of Bahgdad.
In 4 days I hadn’t seen a single Iraqi citizen, bar those working within the military bases, I hadn’t been outside the perimiter walls of an Austtralian Military base and was becoming very disheartened with the images I would come away with.
Day 5 we flew to Dhi Qar province in Southern Iraq to spend 24 hrs with the Australian's Overwatch Battle Group.
The next day we travel in convoy to the village of al Najam. This part of the world had been ignored by Saddam's regime for well over a generation. The Australians are hoping to build a school for the children of al Najam village and have come here to discuss the project with the village elders and meet the children.
There are 50 children taught in the classroom, an old hot and dusty tent, at al Najam. 'The school is crucial to our future, Doctors learn in the school. Engineers learn in the school'. Says village elder Sheikh Ratham
These images are copyright owned by AAP.
For enquires regarding the sale and usage of these images please contact the AAP Image department.
Or go to www.aapone.com.au
© 2010 Dean Lewins/AAP Image