Humility in the Rubble

 Iraqi soldiers rest in a bombed out hotel on the front lines

Iraqi soldiers rest in a bombed out hotel on the front lines

Mosul, Iraq

May 18, 2017

This was the closest I would get to the ISIS defensive position. Behind this building and across the street behind me was the hospital where ISIS snipers shot at any moving object. I couldn’t believe that this 4-star hotel located right next to the Tigris River on the western side of Mosul had been demolished to complete rubble from airstrikes. The roof had collapsed to my left. It was just before lunch time and the Iraqi soldiers were taking a rest while food rations to those choosing to eat (It was the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and eating during war is optional). 

The standing soldier spotted me and kindly signaled if I wanted some of the food they were passing out. I wasn’t sure if the others were fasting or not so I nodded yes. I felt ashamed eating in front of these guys. I knew they were hungry too. Some had food, some didn’t. I was grateful when they passed out a bunch more of the rice with tomatoes and garbanzo bean meal. I was humbled by these Iraqis serving me as a guest before the others.

JournalZebulun Mattos