The Boys from Baghdad High

Four students from different religious backgrounds in Baghdad document their final year in high school.

Adolescence & Coming of Age, Global Perspectives

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It’s back to school time... And a group of 17-year-old boys are returning to the classroom for their last year in high school in the world’s most dangerous city—Baghdad.

Suicide bombings, mortar attacks and kidnappings are tearing their city apart. Their first day of school is October 1, 2006, the beginning of the most violent month since the Americans came.

Citywide curfews lasting days are the norm. But in the those 31 days of October, 2,722 men, women and children will die violently, many because of their religion. The boys, however, are a tight group of friends regardless of their different religious, ethnic and economic backgrounds.

The four friends chat excitedly in the schoolyard at Tariq bin Ziad High School for Boys. They have a lot to talk about: girls, Britney Spears, who has the best ripped jeans and who’s hair is the spikiest or is a disaster. It seems pretty normal, but it isn’t.