Monday, May 25, 2015

A few more images from Baghdad 1990....

As I have said in a previous installment, I was a member of Peace Wave, a group of people put together by John Quigley. We were to try to secure the release of Japanese Hostages from the Iraqis just before the first war, Desert Storm. While looking over my files I have come across these never published images of the group. Not everyone is present as they were involved in the negioations to secure the release of Hostages from the Government.

The hostages had become a real problem for the Iraqi Government as virtually every country had people that couldn't leave Iraq, so the International Sports and Musical Festival was put together by the Iraqis as a cover to get rid of the Hostages. We were to get the Japanese Hostages, and the Japanese the Americans. 

Coming back from Babylon we were taken to and amazing 10 story structure designed by the Japanese. It appeared to be emerging from the desert in an oasis river. Obviously our wish for peace didn't prevail.

Some of the Japenese members of the event.

Just before the Basketball game.

Since we didn't have uniforms we borrowed from the Iraqis.

The immortal Quigley jump shot......

After the event we went to the Japanese Embassy for a very late dinner and chill out time.
Although we were catching up with the Iraqis at the half, the game was called due to unknown reasons. Probably to guarantee a win by our opposition. The gentleman just right of me was one of the American Hostages known as "The walking dead." This was one of three groups in Iraq at the time, the Known, Unknown...those kept in hiding by Iraqi friends, and The Walking Dead. He was known to the American government AND the Iraqis but was left in limbo as he wasn't "held", but had no exit out of the country. He did get out with the Japanese as I understand. As we were landing at LAX a couple of days later the pilot announced that the American Hostages were in the air with the Japanese.

I must say that I never expected the war, which started a month after we left Baghdad, to last as long as it has. I deeply appreciate the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women and their families on this Memorial Day. I wish I could have done more....

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