Portraits of Iraqis Covering Their Faces with a Photo of Saddam Hussein
“Saddam is Here” is a portrait project by Iraqi Kurdish photographer Jamal Penjweny. It features Iraqis in everyday locations, covering their faces with a portrait of the country’s former dictator. The photographs are meant to show the lasting impact the Hussein regime had on Iraqi society.
The memory of the dictator is difficult to wipe from the minds of the people, Penjweny says. Hussein’s face was once ubiquitous in their daily lives, appearing on walls, in classrooms, on money, and even in people’s homes. After the fall of the government, taking a picture with Saddam’s face became a taboo.
After living in Europe for a number of years, Penjweny returned to Iraq after Saddam’s fall and noticed how much the former leader’s presence could be felt in the lives of citizens. “His shadow is still following Iraqi society everywhere,” Penjweny says.
Statement by Jerry:
My name is Gerald Koch and I have been subpoenaed to a federal grand jury based in the Southern District of New York regarding the 2008 Times Square Military Recruitment Center bombing. This is my second subpoena concerning this matter; I was also subpoenaed in June of 2009. I refused to testify at that time based on the assertion of my First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment rights, as I will be doing again for the duration of this grand jury. During the first grand jury, the government informed my lawyers that it was believed that I was at a bar in 2008 or 2009 where a patron indicated knowledge of who had committed the bombing. When I was first subpoenaed to the grand jury in 2009 I had no recollection of any such incident— a fact that I expressed publically. Now, almost 4 years later, I still do not recall the alleged situation.
Given that I publically made clear that I had no knowledge of this alleged event in 2009, the fact that I am being subpoenaed once again suggests that the FBI does not actually believe that I possess any information about the 2008 bombing, but rather that they are engaged in a ‘fishing expedition’ to gain information concerning my personal beliefs and political associations.
Over the past few decades, the FBI has demonstrated a consistent pattern of harassment and illegal surveillance of anarchists and other radicals not only here in New York, but also across the country. Throughout this time, federal grand juries (incredibly secretive proceedings that do not permit one’s lawyers to be present) have played a significant role; a federal grand jury is authorized to ask questions about anything and anyone, and often the declared intention is simply a mask to disguise the actual goal of acquiring information for use in other politically motivated cases. It is my belief that these two federal grand juries—despite the pretense of investigation into the 2008 bombing—are actually being used to gain information about my friends, loved ones, and activists for whom I have done legal support. By declining to testify, I refuse to be coerced into participating in a political witch-hunt that eerily recalls those of the McCarthy era Red Scare.
I again assert that I have no knowledge of who is responsible for the 2008 Times Square Military Recruitment Center bombing, and I will once again refuse to testify to the federal grand jury in ethical resistance to participation in a fruitless exercise of fear-mongering and government intimidation. My decision to stay silent in defense of individual agency will most likely result in incarceration for a period up to 18 months. I accept this recompense, understanding that in doing so I will reinforce a tradition of defending individual rights in the face of state repression.
Jerry’s contempt hearing is tomorrow, May 21st at 3:45 PM on the 20th floor of 500 Pearl Street.
untitled on Flickr.
FREE PLACES NEED FREE PEOPLE
Olumpus Mju/µ II
Kodak Gold 200
On the way to Pensacola last summer, my Aunt referred to the cars she followed as “pack leaders” and “alphas.” They were usually SUVs or large trucks…your regular ‘drive it like you own the whole fucking world’ vehicle. When they took exits, we became “a lone wolf.”
I really enjoyed that.
i hope the people who grade my essays don’t laugh at me