By Von Silvana Guanziroli
Paris/Washington. It's been two and a half years now that the US army has
been in Iraq. Each day blood flows, soldiers and civilians are killed.
This roman-photo, with true, shocking pictures of the soldiers' daily
life shows the cruelty of war.
In the spring of 2004 filmmaker and author Penny Allen meets Sergeant R.
in an airplane going to the States. He is stationed with the US troops
in Iraq and is on his way home - a two week leave from the front. They
are sitting next to each other, and for the filmmaker it is a meeting
she will never forget: "He was high strung, overexcited and traumatized.
He had an incredible need to communicate with someone."
The flight lasts ten hours. Sergeant R. tells her -- sometimes calmly,
agitated at other moments -- how he became a part of the bloodshed.
How he himself killed people. “I am an animal", he says.
Penny Allen listens. Another conversation partner would perhaps have
changed the subject. But Allen who once demonstrated against the Vietnam
war, listens. “He came straight from Iraq, I was the first person with
whom he could talk", Penny Allen is affected. Sees herself confirmed
in her radical anti-war attitude. Fourteen years earlier she left
the United States as a reaction to the first Gulf war. Since then
she has been living in Paris.
Sergeant R. trusts her. Before he goes through customs in New York,
they exchange addresses.
Three months later Penny Allen receives mail from Sergeant R. -
directly from Iraq. He is back there again. “Back in hell", he writes.
With the letter there are photos and two video tapes. Sergeant R.
shows Penny Allen his war. And he appeals to her: "Do something with
it!" Sergeant R. wants to wake people up.
Penny Allen promises him she will. She keeps her word with her photo
strip showing real tragedy.