by geoffdorn on September 7, 2017

Bassam Nasralla

#Liberate #Mosul

I don’t recall how I stumbled upon Bassam Nasralla’s Instagram feed, but I found it, and I found it interesting.

It was earlier this year, several months before Iraqi security forces arrived at the outskirts of Mosul. I had no real information on Bassam Nasralla, and still don’t. From what I could tell he was most likely a soldier with a camera. Our only contact was a brief text exchange asking his permission to show his work. His early images were of groups of Humvees crossing vast deserts or candid shots of people, like a soldier with a machine gun slung around his neck juggling a soccer ball. The photos were straightforward and to the point.

As the weeks went on, the images were of small villages and soldiers firing upon an unseen, out of frame, enemy.  I could sense the growing intensity of the conflict. Then more soldiers shooting through holes in walls, behind walls, bedroom curtains, out of someone’s kitchen, snipers at arms-length from the camera, alternating with groups of men holding up fingers marking an approaching victory.

All the while my personal Instagram feed is serving me this battle mixed in with friends on summer vacations, sleeping dogs and plates of food. Some friend’s sleeping Chihuahua followed by a man shooting from the torn edge of a wheat colored building in a street of rubble.

Then in the days after our Fourth of July the photos showed less shooting and more saluting of victory. On July 10th Rex Tillerson announced the Liberation of Mosul. One chapter in a long book that is still being written.

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