Watched this really amazing documentary on Netflix last night. I’m sometimes struck by how men who have spent so much time embedded in a war zone can afterward convey this sense of utter calm and inner peace even in the face of huge life obstacles. Nayyef conveys that sensibility in interview clips in this documentary, no matter whether his post-war life is despairing or joyful.
This documentary brings us an example of steadfast love between these two men through years of hardships. Although I was certainly aware of the taboo and dangers of homosexuality in Iraq, I didn’t realize until watching this film that the executions of gay men are largely carried out by civilians. As Btoo and Nayyef explain, there is no need for the government to act when civilians are all too ready to rid the country of the “problem.” All the government need do is nothing - do nothing to the executioners so as to allow the murders to continue.
The journey of these two men is quite extraordinary to watch and it is certainly touching to witness their reunion at the film’s end. It also put another real story to the impact and importance of the legalization of gay marriage. Although never pointed out in the film, because their commitment ceremony occurred in a natural timeline for them, the fact remains that it was only two months after marriage had been legalized in the U.S. What could be more like living a fairy tale than that to two boys who grew up gay in Iraq?