Hoshang Waziri

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Teargas filling the air as Kurdish government police dispersed a demonstration in Erbil, Iraq, March 25, 2018. Hemn Baban/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

When I was ten years old, my father came home late one day. I remember how pale he was. He said nothing about why he was late, walked straight to his room, locked the door, and stayed there until the next evening. Later, he told us that he had been detained for over seven hours by the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi Ba’ath Party’s notorious security apparatus under the country’s then-dictator Saddam Hussein (this was in the 1970s). Unlike most of the other people who were detained by the Mukhabarat, my father was never tortured—at least, not physically. Instead, he was given a tour of the building and its torture devices that left him terrified.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ten Thousand Images Nori Sharif’s daughter, Sarah, holding a bullet, from Zaradasht Ahmed’s Nowhere to Hide, 2016

Nowhere to Hide, directed by the Iraqi-Norwegian filmmaker Zaradasht Ahmed, is a documentary story of the victims of the Iraq war, from different backgrounds and walks of life, who struggle to survive one occupation only to fall prey to a second. Set in Jalawla and the surrounding villages of Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, the film opens soon after the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq in December 2011.

It follows the daily life of Nori Sharif, a nurse and father of four who narrates other people’s stories after the filmmaker provides him with a small camera to “help document life” after the withdrawal.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ako Rasheed TPX/Reuters. A member of the Kurdish Peshmerga detaining ISIS militants, southwest of Kirkuk, Iraq, October 5, 2017

Following the expulsion of the Islamic State, or ISIS, from Mosul in Iraq, and with the imminent fall of the group’s de facto capital of Raqqa in Syria, reports have suggested that ISIS fighters are defecting or surrendering en masse. But such bullish appraisals of the collapse of ISIS’s fighting spirit may be over-optimistic.

Most people who have fled from ISIS-controlled areas have done so because they were terrified of the invading Shia militias and Shia-dominated Iraqi government forces. Last month, when Iraqi forces liberated the area around the city of Hawija, north of Tikrit, it wasn’t only ISIS fighters who ran.…  Seguir leyendo »