All that remained from Iraq
This day marks the fifteenth year for an entire generation who grew up reading about Babylon’s hanging garden, but only got glimpses of burning oil mines from vast fields of Iraq in morning newspaper. Laden, 9/11, death, trauma, Bush, America, war, saddam, Women of Mass destruction were some the key words of our adolescent period, from which smoothly slipped the romance of Nebuchadnezzar and Queen Amytis by the mighty river Tigris. I remember planning travel through all the ancient wonders of the world! But Iraq had already reduced to a war torn entity. “If you travel to Iraq, you will not get a visa for the Western world.” They said, often.
It was not before few days back, I came across Zeina in Instagram. The first person I personally knew from Iraq. Who identifies herself as an Iraqi, states how unjustly her passport has access to only 5 international nations, exclaims in joy at the very mention of a Bollywood movie, travels and teases her senses with new experiences and tastes and touches life beyond world wide web. Since, our knowledge of Iraq is often painted with media portrayal of gross human rights violation and not about the great poems, good music and delicious breakfast, I thought Zeina is the best person to tell it all!
In her own words and pictures!
Hello everyone! My name is Zeina, and I am an Iraqi travel blogger! I know, Iraqi? Is it the country with war and all of the bad things? Yes! That one.
I was born in a country called Iraq, a country which our current generation know nothing about its greatness or achievements; it is just known for being destroyed. But today I am here to show you another side, a side that I try to spread.
Iraq is the home for the 1st writing system; it was also the home for a vast number of empires like indigenous Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Sumerian. Iraq was the land of famous Arab poets, singers, engineers, and scientists.
Did you know Iraq is a part of the ancient landmass called Mesopotamia, also known as cradle of civilization, between two great rivers, Tigris and Euphrates!
Moreover, Iraqis LOVE food! If you want to win our hearts, give us FOOD! We have several famous dishes like Kahi, Dolma, Biryani (same name in India but entirely different). All of our meals are greasy and fulfilling; it is known in Arab countries that Iraqis have the heaviest dishes ever.
I am sure all of the above was new for you, and that’s why I started my blog! I couldn’t travel when I was younger, it was a pleasure that was pointless for a girl like me, but I always dreamt of being on an airplane heading somewhere. In 2014, I saw a movie (an Indian one) called Queen; it was the movie that inspired me to travel, the scene where she gets off the plane, looking confident, happy is where I saw myself. One year later, I found a master program in Turkey, and I applied, I got accepted, and I was on the next plane to Turkey.
The other day my dear friend Faith suggested that why don’t we go graffiti hunting in Amman? Which we will! • • • You can find this one in Luweibdeh, As you look closer you will notice that the drawing is actually arabic letters combined to give this beautiful masterpiece! ?❤ • • Share your favorite graffiti with us!! ? ?: Faith Chung #thezeinadiary #Amman #streetart
It wasn’t easy for me to convince my parents that I need this experience in my life. It was a struggle, trying to travel with my passport and with my Arabic background. I need to find myself, and I found it in traveling. I travel because I want to show the world a simple woman like me is here to stay.
What was the best moment during my travels, you may ask? It was when I walked out from the airport the very first time heading home looking exactly like the girl from the Queen movie! I achieved my dream.
Jordan series! ?? I lived in Jordan for 17 years but never once tried to discover it as a traveler! I walked in the same street a million times but never knew or noticed the story behind it! For that I decided that now is the time to be a tourist in Jordan! ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 2nd stop: Petra! Where: 3 hours away from Amman! near to Ma’an.⛰ Entrance fees: 1 JD for Jordanians 50 JD for foreigners ? Recommendation: Petra is one of the new wonders of the world! and it sure deserve to be one. Amazing and beautiful ruins that will take your breath away!! Do know that you will have to walk a lot!!! so prepare those sneakers. Secret place (not so secret): The Khubtha Trail on the right side of The Theatre after the Treasury, up in the Mountains you will see big ruins of an old city called the court, if you pass the court and put it on your right side, you will go on a trail called The Khubtha Trail which will lead you to see the The Treasury from above!! spectacular ? Share your Petra pics with me ❤ #thezeinadiary #visitjo #Petra
If you want to travel to Iraq, make sure to visit the north, it is beautiful and safe for the time being. It is improving, and someday you will be able to visit the whole country!
Thank you Madhurima for being so kind and patient as I was writing this post! And I hope I gave you a little glimpse of my life and my country.
Zeina Atamish blogs here and you can definitely find her active in Instagram.
“It goes on and on and on until one cannot eat enough to vomit enough.”
― Christopher Hitchens describing war
[It is safe to travel to Iraq? Probably now is not the time but we shall overcome! One day, cruises will float you through Tigris river and let you experience a magnificent Sunset. Wikitravel and embassies warm you for traveling to Iraq, often marking it as a punishable offence (I think it is the Australian government). Until recently, Isis reign loomed large in Mosul and different other regions. The politics is volatile. The last thing you want while traveling is to fall prey to trying situations like this. So stay put and wait, like all the Iraqis have been doing. All these while.]
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