Do you know anything about the Gulf War that took place between 1990-1991? Well, in high school I have learned everything there is to know about World War I and II, but I haven’t learned much about the war that took place in the early 90’s between Iraq and America (in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait). This movie opened my eyes and showed, what horrible things happened to Iraq’s population under Saddam Hussein’s regime about 15 years ago.
In the movie ‘In the Sands of Babylon’, we follow Ibrahim, an Iraqi soldier who escaped from Kuwait, to his way towards freedom and far away from war. Unfortunately somewhere in the desert near Babylon, he gets captured by the Iraqi Army and put into Saddam Hussein’s infamous prisons, suspected of being a traitor. While Ibrahim is captured and tortured to retrieve information about “The Uprising”, a group of rebels standing up against Hussein’s regime, the director Mohamed Al-Daradji introduces the viewer to three people of the present that have survived the war: a photographer, a farmer and an ex-prisoner, with the hope to find answers to the past. These three men carry deep scars from the war and secrets, which Al-Daradji tries to reveal by going back to the original spots of the war with about 100,000 mass graves and other horrifying footage.
I really liked the link Al-Daradji made between the past and the present. He highlights the fact that the Gulf War is still among us and not forgotten. The rousing and emotional story line of Ibrahim and the survivor’s caught my full interest in their lives and made me learn more about what happened 15 years ago in Iraq. Innocent people being kept and tortured in prison, because they stood up against Hussein’s brutal regime or because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The most important message of this movie is: “Nothing can be stronger than a human spirit, a wish to survive and keep going”. I fully agree.
By Carina Mensching