The Middle East is a mess. One largely created or exacerbated by Western influences and interventions. In countries like Iraq, where actions have often been driven by political motives, good and bad, colonial powers are very good at disappearing leaving those remaining to clear up the mess of deal with the chaos left in our wake. The Deminer, the new documentary from Hogir Hirori and Shinwar Kamal, follows the Iraqi army’s continuing attempts to clear mines, bombs and booby traps left by the Iraq wars, civil strife and daesh.
Fakhir is a father of eight and a major in the Iraqi army. Using his hands, a pocketknife and wire cutters, he’s made it his mission to clear as many traps as possible and save as many lives as he can. A home video enthusiast, Fakhir films much of his day to day work, putting his life on the line to save others. Even after facing a number of setbacks and near misses, he refuses to stop until the streets are safe for all Iraqis.
The Deminer focusses its efforts on Fakhir’s mission, painting the portrait of a dedicated man who is prepared to give his life to save others. This seems to be often at the expense of his family. This element of the chaos left behind by war and conflict is rarely discussed, but the brave men and women who clear these hazards are heroes in their own right. The Deminer is a powerful and disturbing documentary which gives a unique insight into one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.
The Deminer is in UK cinemas and on demand on 27 April.