What We Carried: Fragments from the Cradle of Civilization is a photography project by Jim Lommasson. Through photography, Lommasson asked Iraqi refugees to share an item that accompanied them during their immigration to America, and to express what it means to them. Going through this powerful collection of images, I thought of one Waltz With Bashir moment – “Memory takes us where we need to go.”
“I want to ask my country ‘Iraq’ when we will get some rest. Shall we spend tears on our current circumstance or should we cry for the past. We have been carrying our miseries for long time on our chests. Strangers from around the world occupied our land and they kill our people for a very cheap price. We are tired, we are tired and we want to get some rest.”
“Many times simple things seem nothing to others while it means everything to you. A scarf, not a fancy once or so special this one might seem. I take it with me where ever I travel. A scarf is all what I have now of my soulmate whom I lost my smile and happiness since I lost him. (it belongs to my killed brother). Not such along story, again sectarian war took my brother like so many other Iraqis. Whenever I take this scarf in between my hands, I close my eyes and hug it close to my heart. Thinking about it as it used to embrace my beloved brothers neck and chest. Wish I was a scarf (this scarf) so I could be as much as I can close to the one I lost!”
“Without ‘Nana’ (means mother in Trukmani language) there would be no Samir. When I was drawing on the walls, cabinet, doors, clothing and other things in my house my mother was spanking me and beat me so hard. That’s motivated me to be an artist. We lived such a difficult life with all aspects and my family struggled a lot financially plus the wars and injustice that we have been through. My mother was so kind and patient with everybody all the time and I learned from her how to be patient and honest with everything. This is my mother’s gift to me and I’m carrying it with me everywhere I go because it’s giving me the strength and patience that I need. In 2006 and just before I left Iraq my mother gave me this gift and asked me to carry it with me all the time because it has the name of Allah ‘God’ and this will protect me and give me patience and strength.”
/all images © Jim Lommasson/
For more on Jim Lommasson and What We Carried: Fragments from the Cradle of Civilization, visit Lommasson’s blog.