Watch PBS Newshour live NOW!
The daily live stream of PBS Newshour begins every weekday at 4:00pm mst
Aired Sunday November 7th, 2010 at 7:00 pm on KUED HD Ch. 7.1
In the early 1990's, Saddam Hussein committed one of the greatest ecocides of the 20th Century. He drained the great Mesopotamian Marshes, the richest wetland habitat in the Middle East. Believed by many religious scholars to be the original Garden of Eden, the marshes were reduced to miles of scorched earth. As the region turned to dust, the interdependent communities of people and wildlife were virtually wiped out. But one man is on a mission to restore this precious ecosystem, against all odds, and two filmmakers are determined to tell his story. In the middle of a war-torn nation where chaos and violence are part of everyday life, convoys of armed guards protect filmmaker David Johnson and cameraman Steve Foote as they follow eco-visionary Azzam Alwash in Nature: Braving Iraq, premiering on KUED Channel 7 Sunday November 7 at 7:00 p.m.
"The making of Braving Iraq has been unlike any other film on Nature," says Fred Kaufman, series executive producer. "Our filmmakers had to take extreme security measures in order to document this critical story. It's rewarding to be able to show the transformation of an environmental catastrophe into an ecological rebirth in a country known for its challenges instead of its successes."
Between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, situated in Southern Iraq, the Mesopotamian Marshes were a thriving habitat that served as a breeding ground and sanctuary for millions of species including thousands of migrating birds. Iraqi natives living in the area also relied on the versatile wetlands for building material, food and fuel. When the construction of enormous embankments to reroute the Tigris and Euphrates rivers began in the early 1990's under the direction of Hussein, the delicate biodiversity and lifeblood of the wetlands was choked. Once more than twice the size as the Everglades, the Mesopotamian Marshes were reduced to a fraction of their original size and could no longer sustain their inhabitants.
After the fall of Saddam's regime, Alwash, who had settled in the U.S. as an Iraqi exile, returned to his home country to rebuild the wetlands he remembered so well from his childhood. Alwash hopes his restoration program will offer a new perspective on Iraq and make it possible for people and wildlife to live in harmony once again in one of the most politically troubled and dangerous places on Earth.
Array ( [area] => pressReleases [action] => details [id] => NzA4 )
Array ( )