Valley of Peace

Valley of Peace

Tamara Abdul Hadi

Najaf, Iraq. October 2011

“Najaf is a place for burying, not for living” – Iraqi proverb

Wadi as-Salam, Valley of Peace, is a cemetery in Najaf, a province in the Western part of Central Iraq. Najaf is distinguished by this vast cemetery – more than 5 million people are buried here – which is considered to be the second-largest and oldest cemetery in the world. The cemetery is home to generations upon generations of Iraqis and Shia gone past. It has also borne witness to generations of turmoil and war both on its land and beneath it. The site saw fierce battles between US troops and the Mehdi army during the battle for Najaf in 2004.

The symbolic value of the cemetery’s name nestled in a nation so overcome by war is what compelled this photo series.