Nik Wheeler’s portrayal of life among the marshmen of southern Iraq is the only in-depth photo-reportage in the marshes ever authorized by Saddam Hussein’s regime. The photos, originally shot as a National Geographic assignment in the late 1970s, show the “Cradle of Civilization” where Marsh Arabs paddled canoes around villages of elaborate reed houses set in a vast plain of water and reeds at the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Years later, Saddam Hussein napalmed the villages and drained the marshes, destroying a unique way of life that had existed for five thousand years.
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