iraq for life
Women warriors: story of Khatoon Khider and her Daughters of the Sun
Khatoon Khider used to be a popular Yazidi singer. Now she’s the head of an all-women battle unit with Isis in its sights. By Emma Graham-Harrison
By Emma Graham-Harrison

After what happened to Yazidi women and girls, I decided to stop singing until I take revenge for them,” she says. “Maybe I will go back to music, but I think this job as a soldier will be a long one.”

(As a side note: There’s dozens and dozens of these sorts of stories that are constantly mailed to me. I am usually uncomfortable posting them, as there’s a legitimate case to be made that they are wartime propaganda. Most I’ve seen have been poorly written, poorly sourced, and slanted to encourage cheerleading over critical thinking. What sets this one apart for me is its in-depth interviewing, and focus on who she is as a person over the ‘ISIS/ISIL/Daesh fears women’ narrative.)

(thanks to Becca for sending this in!)

SYRIA. Aleppo governorate. June 9, 2016. Souad Hamidi removes her niqab after Syrian Democratic Forces took control of her village, on the outskirts of Manbij. Photographer Rodi Said: ‘When U.S.-backed forces seized Hamidi’s village in northern Syria from ISIS, the 19-year-old swiftly tore off the niqab she had been forced to wear since 2014 and smiled. “I felt liberated,” Hamidi said after swapping her black face-covering veil for a red headscarf. “They made us wear it against our will so I removed it that way to spite them.” I was heading to villages that had been retaken by SDF, and my arrival coincided with the arrival of Hamidi back to her home. Am Adasa had been under the militants’ control since 2014, when ISIS proclaimed its caliphate straddling Syria and Iraq. Under ISIS, life was strictly regulated, Hamidi said, including dress codes. “They would punish people who did not follow their rules, sometimes forcing them to stay in dug-out graves for days,” she said. “Since they (SDF) took control, we are living a new life.”

Photograph: Rodi Said/Reuters

anonymous asked:

I see where you're coming from but from your ideas I feel like you need to develop a better understanding of what the hijab is to really start talking about it, and then maybe you will have a valid point.

I have lived in Iraq for most of my life. Much of that has been under Islamic-based law. I literally was born in a town that is now under ISIS control. Arabic is my first language. I have been forced to cover up in certain situations to avoid being raped or kidnapped and forced to be a sex slave.

I understand the hijab and my points are valid. To imply I don’t know anything because I don’t do the very thing I feel oppressed by is ridiculous.

*Me to my nun friend in 2004* “Well, you know, George Bush will do fuck all about abortion. No Republican ever will. Roe vs. Wade: It’s their little carrot on a stick.”  *Her* “But John Kerry is *for* abortion!” *Me* “And so are most Republican politicians, probably. As long as they can use it to win elections. You don’t think these men have mistresses? And they pay for abortions on the side? I mean, come on. Don’t be naive.”

*me* “Am I wrong? Really?”

*her* “Sharon, you’ve gotten so cold.”

*me* “They took Jesus and badly, hideously distorted all his points. About helping the poor. About love. About greed being evil. Those sleazebags turned it into a pro-capitalist, pro Wall-Street, pro Let’s-Invade-Everywhere message. Then they used it for votes. They should all be ashamed.” 

*her* “We didn’t teach you well at Sunday school, did we?” 

me*  “No, not at all. You taught me too well, in fact. That’s the problem. I was paying attention to it all. I got was Jesus was saying. Every damn word. Hence why I hate America’s GOP.” 


Falling in love in wartime Iraq (A Real Life Love Story)

US Army interpreter Nayyef Hrebid and Iraqi soldier Btoo Allami fell in love at the height of the Iraq War. It was the start of a dangerous 12-year struggle to live together as a couple.

In 2003, Nayyef Hrebid found himself in the midst of the Iraq war. The fine art graduate had signed up to be a translator for the US Army after he couldn’t find a job.

“I was based in Ramadi, which was the worst place at that time. We would go out on patrols and people would be killed by IEDs [roadside bombs] and snipers. I was asking myself: ‘Why am I here? Why am I doing this?’”

However, a chance encounter with a soldier in the Iraqi army changed everything.

Keep reading

The room shivers from distant explosions. The curtains shiver. Then the heart shivers. Why are you in the midst of all this shivering? - Saadi Youssef 

*Mental Asylum, Afghanistan. The pain of war has become too much for these men. Wrapped in blankets, they have retreated into themselves. Vulnerable and haunted by demons, they are the uncounted casualties of decades of war. 

Witnessing the resilience of kids after fleeing their homes and communities

In May 2016, Dutch photographer Ton Koene traveled to Iraq to chronicle the daily lives of tens of thousands of internally displaced populations (IDPs) and returnees who have lost loved ones and belongings amid the raging battles in the country.

Doctors Without Borders provides mental health care, a non-communicable disease clinic, health promotions and community engagement activities within Khanaqin-Alwand camp in the central north of Iraq.

During the Iraq war, numerous Iraqis risked life and limb to serve as translators and informants to the U.S. Military, and were promised a fast-track into the country as repayment. These hardworking, brave individuals faced retaliation for aligning themselves with the U.S., and many of them were murdered or died in the line of fire. Years later, the U.S. has not made good on its promise. Many of them are now refugees living in other countries, and are blocked from entering the U.S. under the refugee ban. 

Given our country’s history of exploiting brown people and not following through on our promises, this is not surprising stuff. But don’t let the bleakness of this situation numb you to how unconscionable it is. These people risked their lives to aid the military that invaded their country. They deserve entry into the U.S.. And you can help. 

Call your Congressional representatives by dialing (202) 224-3121 and entering your zip code. Then tell them the following: 

“Hello, I am a concerned constituent from [city, state] and my zip code is _____. I am calling because I find it unacceptable that Iraqis who helped the U.S. during the Iraq War are not exempt from the refugee ban. These hard-working people aided our military immeasurably, and we have done nothing to pay them back for their sacrifices. At the very least, they do not deserve to be treated as threats.”


Refugee life through a child’s eyes: Young Syrians capture the laughter and heartbreak of living in a refugee camp in photos they took themselves

  • The incredible photos have been taken by Syrian refugee children forced to leave their country in on-going violence
  • Children were given cameras by world-renowned photographer Reza Nomade as part of his Exile Voices project
  • They captured life inside Kawergosk refugee camp in Erbil, northern Iraq, home to more than 10,000 Syrian refugees
  • Beautiful images show the children laughing, washing and playing with their toys despite their dire struggles
  • Among the rubble is the heartbreaking picture of some frozen shoes belonging to a young girl who wanted to go to photography class - but waited until her shoes had thawed

Read more:

My Life Driving Uber as an Iraq War Veteran with PTSD

Stuck on my dashboard where everyone can see is my Combat Infantry Badge. It’s a medal given to soldiers “who personally fought in active ground combat… engaged in active ground combat, to close with and destroy the enemy with direct fires.” It’s supposed to be a conversation starter, a way to bridge the gap between the passengers who are constantly coming in and going out of my car.

Almost no one notices it, or they notice it and just don’t care.

I’ve picked up countless fares and only two have asked me what it was. When I told them it was an award I earned in Iraq, one guy went on a monologue—to impress me, I guess—about a distant relative of his who was in the Special Forces. The other said nothing beyond, “Oh.”

Far more people ask me why I have a plain black-and-white Uber decal on my windshield and not one of those “cool” glow-in-the-dark ones instead. Others ask why I don’t also have a pink mustache. But mostly my passengers spend the ride staring down at their phones, treating me like a machine while my thoughts drift, inevitably, to the voiceovers from Taxi Driver that have been rattling around in my head for months.

Listen, you fuckers, you screwheads. Here is a man who would not take it anymore. A man who stood up against the scum, the cunts, the dogs, the filth, the shit. Here is a man who stood up.

Except I’m not standing up. I’m sitting down, watching the city fly past my windshield.