The War Diaries

"We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Archive for the ‘Tunisia’ tag

A Decade of War and Peace

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Barcelona- Partly out of boredom and partly out of the itch to simply create something new out of old, I threw together this photo montage over the weekend. In this era of digital photography where one shoots thousands of frames rather than analog hundreds, I was reflecting on how almost all of the images I make will never see the light of day in this regard. I put this video together in a largely random fashion with images that have been just sitting in my laptop for years. I put the photos in the order they came to me as I grabbed them one by one from various folders containing my view of many of the biggest news events of the last 10 years.

Interspersed with them are much more sublime moments of everyday life around the world. An elephant in Thailand, an aged priest in Ethiopia, a glitzy office tower in Manhattan. This has been my reality and is our collective reality. Globalization and social networking simultaneously accelerate worldwide travel and technological integration while hyper compartmentalizing our lives. We speak more so to only those who we want to and listen to those with whom we already agree.

Dr. Abdullah Abdullah preparing to depart for Ghazni province with the Afghan airforce to campaign in remote ethnic Hazara villages. Abdullah was the leading opposition candidate challenging President Hamid Karzai in the August 2009 elections. On the right stands a Shi’ite Seyyid accompanying him to Shia population centers for campaign credibility. ©2009 Derek Henry Flood

No one knows just where any of this is going. Billionaire fraudsters suddenly imprisoned, social revolutions springing up from seemingly nowhere (though not quite), calcified dictatorships counted on for decades in the interests of “stability” suddenly crumbling to pieces, it seems as if the entire world order is in question.

No grand conspiracy here, just plain, old awful war. On August 15, 2006, a Lebanese ambulance lay destroyed by what appeared to be an Israeli missile strike (quite possibly a drone strike or SPIKE anti-tank missile) outside of Sidon in southern Lebanon, an irrefutable violation of the Geneva Conventions on war crimes. Pro-Likud right-wing bloggers would dare say scenes like these were part of elaborate false flag operations by Hezbollah or photoshop masterpieces by left-wing or pro-Hezbollah journalists meant to demonize the Israel Defense Forces. This ambulance was not part of the so-called “ambulance controversy” nor am I aware that this particular wreckage appeared anywhere in the international media at the time.  ©2006 Derek Henry Flood

The Star Wars Diaries: Episode II

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The Mos Espa set from the 2nd prequel triology sitting in literally the middle of nowhere outside Tozeur. Driving along a pancake flat salt depression complete with massive mirage, I came upon this.

Tozeur- I made a hellacious trek across southern Tunisia in high summer for a Lucasfilm pilgrimage I have dreamed of for decades. Both Star Wars: Episdoe IV A New Hope and Raiders of the Lost Ark were filmed in the stark and stunning oasis region of Toezur and nearby Nefta. The friendly guys at Tunisie Voyages in Tozeur made this all possible, despite the hardship imposed by ramadan they made it happen for me. Fantastique! The first thing I figured out when trying to get the lay of the land for the film locales in Tunisia for both Star Wars and Raiders, is that they are spread almost evenly throughout the country. Shots from the films are cut together in such a way that one would think these were all in the same region. Not so. With limited time and resources, I had to pick and choose my battles. I wanted to pinpoint some of the Raiders sites but many of them are less distinct. I am pretty sure that the truck chase scene was filmed at the palmerie in Nefta that we drove by on the way to Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru’s igloo.

This place was so strange. A crumbling movie set battered by the elements near the Algerian border. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Now I was trying to do my impression of Luke looking at the binary sunset from the first movie at Chott el-Jerid but it was really hard because it was midday and I was somehow staring directly into the sun waiting to hear the shutter go off. It was a one shot deal.

This is "Jawa rock" in the canyon below the Sufi pilgrimage site of Sidi Bouhlel. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

An overview of Star Wars/Raiders of the Lost Ark canyon a.k.a. the Juntland Wastes. This place was spectacular, dotted with loads of sea fossils. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

I don't speak the Bocce needed to communicate with these moisture vaporators.

Trekking the Juntland Wastes in midsummer. Help me Obi Wan! This is where the first shot of the Nazi Ark procession was filmed in Raiders. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Written by derekhenryflood

August 3rd, 2011 at 2:43 pm

The Star Wars Diaries

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Djerba- Took a break from some seriousness and hired a taxi for the afternoon to find the island’s three Star Wars film locales from the shoot back in 1976. I started out on the island’s west coast road heading south from Houmet Souk, the main town. On the seaside, I found a mosque complex called Sidi Jibour that was being cleaned up and whitewashed by local men as I arrived. It is briefly used as a far away exterior for Mos Eisely spaceport in A New Hope but super fans will not it better at the setting for the deleted scene at Toshi/Tosche Station (which can be seen on 0:15 in this Youtube video) where young Luke meets the pilot Biggs Darklighter-which should be included in the long awaited, upcoming Blu Ray complete saga release in September.

Mos Eisley/Toshi Station. Stunning setting on the sea. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Next up, a bit further down the Djerban coast was a tiny little structure know on Star Wars fan sites at Ben’s Hermitage (Obi Wan Kenobi’s house). It is in the movie very briefly as a Landspeeder zooms up out front. People here seem to have no notion of what Star Wars is or was. When I arrived at this locale, a group of hijab-clad women were having a pre-ramadan picnic on the front stoop when I come bounding out of the taxi talking about the importance of the place to Star Wars fans. When I finishing taking my pics, which they were sure to step out of, one of them called out to me, “good luck with your movie!” I shouted a ramadan mubarak back and hopped back in the cab.

Not exactly a Landspeeder out front, but nonetheless it's probably been there since 1976. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Following the 2nd discovery, it was further down toward the port of Ajim to scour for the exterior of the infamous Mos Eisley Cantina where Luke and Ben rendezvous with Han. Of course I left the hotel forgetting the memorize the French language title (it’s La guerre des étoiles) and the driver and I were asking all sorts of people, men mostly, where the place was. Of course it didn’t help that halfway through the trip I realized the driver didn’t seem to have actually seen the film himself so his frame of reference was nil. He was getting tired of our little goose chase when I insisted we keep driving around a few back streets near the center of Ajim and voila! I saw what I was sure was it and jumped out asking a local man seated across the street if this was the place and sure enough, it was. It can be seen at 2:07 in this Youtube video.

"You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." Exterior of Mos Eisley Cantina, centre ville de Ajim. ©2011 some nice Tunisian guy

Written by derekhenryflood

July 31st, 2011 at 3:14 pm