Love and atrocities in Iraq. U.S. photographer tells of her days in Mosul
Reports | 08:57 - 04/03/2020
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Follow-up - Mawazine News
When American photographer Alex Potter arrived in Mosul, Iraq, in 2016, her plan was limited to photographing displaced women in camps, but the horror of the battles in Iraq prompted her to change the target and do another mission.
After witnessing a bloody incident in which Iraqi civilians were seriously injured, Potter decided to join a team of volunteer paramedics of different nationalities.
Potter says in an article in The New York Times that her turning point was a car bomb explosion in Mosul that resulted in serious injuries, including a little girl who "didn't stop bleeding."
At the scene, Potter saw the translator who was with them psychologically collapsing from what he saw, after seeing the child of the same age as his son soaked in her blood.
"When I came to Iraq in the first week, I had no intention of going to Mosul," Potter said in her article. In addition to being a nurse, I am a photographer, and my plan was to photograph women in places of displacement."
"I met Pete, a medic, a former U.S. Marine, and for months he ran a team founded by Slovak medics," she said.
Foreign Volunteers Team
Most of the medical institutions operated by relief agencies are far from the fighting, making it difficult to treat the injured, she said.
In addition, Iraqi forces are only concerned with treating military casualties, so The Medic's Pitt team has concluded an agreement with Iraqi security that Iraqi forces will assist in bringing in civilians, and in return, Beit's team is treating iraqi military personnel.
Alex decided to partner with Pitt's team to help civilians for a week or two and then return to the United States, but that wasn't the case.
Within eight months, Potter joined the medical team in helping civilians with medical centers in schools, homes, sometimes on the side of the road.
The U.S. photographer and paramedic said that every time a neighborhood is liberated from isis terrorist control, its team receives large numbers of military and civilian casualties, indicating that in one day they have received more than 100 victims.
"I've been traumatized," she says, witnessing a lot of victims in difficult situations, such as a teenager who broke her four limbs and shattered her entire pelvis, and a young man with a blow to his brain.
Working together and the difficult task did not prevent Alkes and Pete from falling in love, and they pledge to continue together on the same path to achieve the same goal: to treat the injured more systematically by establishing a non-profit organization called Global Response Management.
"I'm becoming more isolationist"
In June 2017, when coalition forces decided to retake Mosul, Pitt and Alex's team had treated thousands of Iraqi citizens. However, on the evening of June 19, 2016, Alex was traumatized after receiving four journalists, one of whom was personally identified, with horrific injuries.
They also included a Swiss journalist, Veronique Robert, who died of a severe injury to her lower limbs and bled from holes in her abdomen.
Potter continued to Iraq for several months after the liberation of Mosul, but the team ended up unable to get funding to do the same work and effort in Syria, and she left Iraq with a number of her friends and colleagues.
"At this point, it was clear that the war had affected my mental health, became more isolationist and i lost my sense of creativity within me," says Alex. I felt unenthusiastic about accomplishing anything except simple goals.""
Alex and Pete eventually decided to go to Idaho instead of Minnesota after being overwhelmed by the world of journalism and ambulance, and Pitt got a job as a firefighter in the wild.