Once upon a time Iraq boasted an extensive railway network criss-crossing the country. But like so much else there, trains were a victim of the years of conflict and now only a skeleton service still runs.
Sixty-one year-old Abdul Latif Salman has a unique connection to the railways and a personal history that mirrors the turbulence of recent decades. In his youth he was one of three drivers assigned to Saddam Hussein's private luxury train. He was later a prisoner of war in Iran for ten years and his son was killed by a bomb attack on a government building in Iraq. Today, Salman is a driver once again on the newly-revived passenger service running from Baghdad to the south.
Filmmakers Rashed Radwan and Carmen Marques' take us on a journey with him through the heart of modern Iraq calling at stations once thought to be shut forever, in communities that have been under siege for years. With Salman's reminiscences of other times and places as a backdrop, we meet the ordinary passengers who have lived through and survived the worst of times in a country struggling to put itself back together.
About Al Jazeera - Witness
Rageh Omaar and Ghida Fakhry present Witness, a half-hour documentary series which features short, specially commissioned or acquired films gathered from independent filmmakers.
Each documentary reveals the unknown lives of ordinary people, following their lives, telling their stories and portraying the challenges that confront them. Our witnesses are people in a situation or those who have observed them first hand.
The films cover conflict, belief, the past, and the future and, as well as bringing new stories to light, they showcase the talents of a new breed of multi-skilled, frontline journalist.