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Shadow and Light

Name unknown (#131)


Name unknown. Lecturer at Baghdad University of technology. Killed 27 June 2006 by a group of armed men. They were driving a vehicle in the Baghdad neighbourhood of al-Mansur and shot him without stopping. Next day, students and professors staged demonstrations in all universities across the country opposing the assassination and kidnapping of professors and lecturers. [Source: al Jazeera and Jordan Times, 27 June, 2006]

Artist Statement

Who was this man? The mystery of his identity somehow makes him more real to me. He becomes every single soul, disguised in anonymity, as if this attempt to obliterate him only ingrained him in memory, as a father, a brother, a partner, a son. For this photograph, I owe the choice of subject matter to one of my cats. She paused here, walked away and then returned, looking towards the source of light. Something about the way she moved, and the way the light filtered in through the door, told me that this was the image to capture. The quiet solitude felt almost like the moment after my martyr walked out unsuspectingly to meet his destiny. It is haunting but beautiful, sad but peaceful, and befits all that is unspoken and unknown. I think the muted texture of paper adds to this beautifully.

It's safe to

cast away

the shadows

and enter the light.

Go now,

choose your name:

whisper it

in our ears,

or keep it a secret—

either way

I know who

you are. You're

Khaled: Eternal

Nidal: The Struggle

Majed: Glorious

Al-Mansur: Victorious

You are not

the bullet.

That sapped your

brilliant light,

not dust, nor

a number,

or a comma

in the rendering

of a story

that the white

spaces of

your absence,



Fatima El-Kalay