This photo shows a US occupation soldier standing near a painting by an anonymous Iraqi artist. The artwork was inspired by the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, the classic book of Arab literature. First compiled in Arabic during the 9th century, the stories have inspired untold thousands of artists. It is the only Arabic work to have become truly popular in the West, giving us tales like Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Sinbad the Sailor, and Aladdin’s Lamp.
The snapshot taken at a bazaar near Baghdad’s international airport, made me reflect on how the age old stories will continue to be told long after the US departs. The only question is… how many Iraqis and Americans will die before that day comes?