Peter-Van-Agtmael

USA. Aurora, Illinois. 2015.   Sham Al Hajali at her engagement party.  The Al Hajali’s are part of the small wave of 2,200 Syrian Refugees of the civil war who have been granted asylum in the United States.  Their son, Wasseem, was initially granted asylum but his application has been put on indefinite hold.   Father Mahmud, daughter Sham and twin 17-year old sons Ahmad and Mohamed work long hours at minimum wage to make ends meet. © Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos

IRAQ. 2006. A teenage boy lies beaten and bloody against the wall in the aftermath of a deadly raid.  

“Several minutes before, a squad of U.S. soldiers had breached the outer gate of the house, and as they were sprinting towards the door an AK-47 opened fire, the bullets snapping past the first man in line but hitting the second soldier twice in the left arm. The rest of the soldiers charged in as a medic dragged the soldier to the relative safety of the outer wall. A deafening volley of sustained fire ripped through the air moments later, as the American soldiers caught up with the gunmen, and shot his head to pieces.  

The teenager, momentarily demented from fear and the thunderous noise, leapt at an adrenaline-filled soldier, who smashed him in the face with the butt of his rifle, dazing and bloodying him. His hands were bound and he was forced against a wall, alongside a young, stoic boy, whose face nevertheless registered incomprehension at the events going on around him. Every few minutes, Iraqi and American soldiers would steal away from their search of the house to stare at the corpse, a man as alive as they just a few minutes before, now waxen and still.”

Photograph: Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos