Local News

Iraqi War Photographer Makes New Life in America

An Iraqi war photographer who came to America for the safety of his family settled down in Central PA.

About 4 years ago Atheer Hameed chose Lancaster as the spot to erase the horror from the war and create a new life in America.

As journalists we all have a feeling of fear while we’re on the job.

But Atheer Hameed has defined what it means to put your life on the line for a job you love.

He brings a truly unique perspective through not only the lens of a camera but from his very own eyes.

The pictures that fill Atheer Hameed’s photo album..

“In 2006 in Lebanon,” says Atheer.

Tell the tale similar to a soldier on the front lines, and he has the video to prove it.

CBS News hired Atheer as a photographer when the Iraqi war began.

His most vivid memory…

(sounds of explosions)

“I’m rolling with my camera and suddenly the blast happened,” says Atheer.

Is the day when UN Headquarters were attacked in 2003.

“The smell of the gun also,” says Atheer.

“You can still remember the smell?”

“Yes the smell,” says Atheer.

He says when he closes his eyes at night the gruesome images roll through his memory.

Somehow he kept going… even when his brother was murdered in Baghdad, he found motivation in his darkest days.

“Everyday you see people die right in front of you..”

“I like this job, this is my career, I consider the camera as one of my babies,” says Atheer.

Eventually the time came when Atheer was in fear for his real babies.

Some people told me, Atheer you have to leave or you will be the next,” says Atheer.

So he left the life he knew and the career he loved, to come to America.

He now works as a school custodian.

“It was very difficult but because of the safety of my family I had to sacrifice,” says Atheer.

Take a step into the Hameed’s home and they’ll treat you like royalty.

Traditional tea and cookies are the usual spread.

But, Atheer sometimes doesn’t feel welcome in America.

“Ehh..They don’t care, they don’t care, I guess some people are nice,” says Atheer.

His motivation now is his family and his two newest additions, identical twin girls, and American citizens, he brags.

Those images from a decade ago still bear a heavy weight on his shoulders.

His life in Lancaster marks the start of a new journey, with the courage many of us wish we had.

“You can find the bad and the good, everywhere,” says Atheer.

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