Baghdad Blues: A War Diary
David Turnley
Magowan Publishing LLC and The Vendome Press. 160 Pages. $25.
“… In February I was given an extraordinary opportunity by Eason Jordan of CNN to go [to] the gulf region, where I served as a correspondent mixing video, photography, and on-air reporting. My brief early on was to work in the surrounding countries and along the border of Iraq to tell stories of people who were in some way affected by Saddam Hussein’s regime, and to put a human face on the population of the region.

“For the first month and a half of my three months in the Middle East for CNN, I worked in Syria and then in Turkey in the Kurdish-controlled area along the border of Iraq. As the war approached, our plan was to be in a position to enter northern Iraq, which was held by the Kurds, and to eventually get to Baghdad to cover the war from there. The only two ways to get into northern Iraq were through Iran or through Turkey, but both routes were shut off––officially, at least. I couldn’t get a visa from Iran, and the Turks would not allow me to cross their border legally. For the first time in my 20 years of covering conflict, I resorted to being smuggled, first in Syria and from there into northern Iraq. This is where my story begins. … “The photographs in this book were transmitted to CNN in Atlanta every day of the war, and many were seen on television, with me as narrator. ‘Baghdad Blues’ is the culmination of my personal experience during this time. As a photographer, I am accustomed to communicating about the world visually, but in this book my words and images work together to convey the immensely human story of life during the war in Iraq.”

Kurdish children stand in the doorway of a home in the village of Handek in Turkey along the border with northern Iraq. Photo by David Turnley.

Kurdish men play dominoes during the war in a café in the northern frontline town of Kifri. Photo by David Turnley.

In the Turkish village of Handek, a Kurdish father kisses his child, who rests in a cradle inside the family’s home. Photo by David Turnley.

Two Kurdish friends walk through an alleyway in the Turkish town of Cizre near the border with northern Iraq. Photo by David Turnley.

David Turnley, a 1998 Nieman Fellow, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist.

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