The Prince of Fallujah, is an intimate portrait of a young man from Fallujah in Iraq and the effect the war there has had on him and his family.
In April 2004, as the city of Fallujah was under siege from US troops we met Ahmed Al Jumaily. He was 25 and came from a wealthy family in the city.
Being in Fallujah with him was like being with a celebrity. Everywhere we went people honked their horns and waved.
The film-maker said that having him with me saved my life more than once and she started to call him the “Prince of Fallujah” and began filming him to record the extraordinary events of his life at this time.
Ahmed favoured western clothing, usually sporting jeans and sunglasses. He spoke English with confidence and was, he told the film-maker “a thoroughly modern Jumaily”.
His family were factor owners, they provided much of Al Anbar province with generic cola and purified water. The family had several homes in Fallujah and Baghdad. They had recently completed construction of a massive new factory just outside of Fallujah with the latest new machinery.
During the first battle in Fallujah, Ahmed was stuck in Baghdad as his family is inside the besieged city. He remembered standing on the bridge to Fallujah and US marines not letting any one out.
A few days later Ahmed’s factory was bombed and raided and he was arrested and interrogated for five days – kept with a sack over his head. He takes us through the now destroyed soft drinks factory, which American soldiers accused him of making chemical weapons. He puts the carbon into his mouth showing that it is only for purified water.
Ahmed also explained that though he loved his girlfriend he is too scared to marry her. He said: “I am afraid that if we marry I will love her so much and one of us will get killed by a bomb.”
Looking at a destroyed poster of Saddam Hussein, he says “I didn’t like Saddam, but it was better under him. I have had so much trouble since the war.”
While getting a haircut one day he talks about his experience in jail and admits that he is now terrified of being arrested again – “because they can take anyone and after they make him crazy, then they say sorry.”