Kurdistan- Iraq: "Life After Genocide"

"Life After Genocide" Kurdistan Iraq- Work in Progress.

Continuing on the work I have worked on in Bosnia and in Rwanda on the topic “Life After Genocide”, journalist and researcher Vicken Cheterian and myself decided to visit the Yazidi population in northern Iraq. 

"On that day, in the early hours of August 3, 2014, ISIS fighters armed with heavy weapons after they conquered Mosul two months earlier, coming from Ba’aj attacked the Yazidi villages of Girzarek and Siba Sheikh Khidir. Peshmerga forces received orders from Erbil and withdrew. They did not evacuate the Yazidi civilian population, leaving them defenceless, at the mercy of ISIS. Local Yazidi resistance armed with light weapons collapsed after four hours; they did not have enough ammunition, nor heavy arms to resists against jihadi armored vehicles. In a few hours ISIS entered the town of Sinjar. The local population in panic escaped to the mountain. ISIS captured those who could not escape: men were forced to convert to Islam; those who refused were killed on the spot. More than 35 mass graves have been found this far. ISIS revived open sex slave markets, a tradition that had disappeared from the region since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Over 5240 women and girls were captured and sold as slaves." Vicken Cheterian  July 2016.

Version of this project (from Bosnia and Rwanda) has been shown at the Foto 8 gallery in London (my foto 8 page). The project has also been on display at the FIFDH Geneva International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights and Nikon Pro Magazine recently selected part of this story to be featured in their magazine (Winter 2014/05 issue). It has also been exhibited internationally including in Switzerland, USA, and Hong Kong. It has also been shortlisted by the Swiss Photo Award as well as being on display with Reporters Sans Frontiers and PhotoReporters/ Impresum in Zurich, Geneva and Lausanne. 

My Archive on Life after Genocide is available through Keystone Photo, Zurich, Switzerland.
Yazidi refugees have made their own random camp for refuge as the official camp (Khanke camp) nearby is full. This is 
near Dahuk, not to far from the Sinjar mountain and one of the main location where the Yazidi
population is located. 
Kurdish men enjoying the evening in a restaurant in Duhok.
Kurdish men enjoying the evening with games and tea. Duhok, Northern Iraq/ Kurdistan. 
Hajji Mirza is from Tel Azar. Now, he and his family live under a tent in Khanke camp, near Dohuk in northern Iraq. 
He is one among 2’908 families, or 16’611 people. “For 20 years I worked as construction worker in Tikrmt
For 15 years I did the same in Kurdistan. We did not ask for government positions, we did not protest, 
all what we want is to continue our way of life. In spite of all that they keep killing us.”

Hajji Mirza is from Tel Azar is running a small store within the Camp Khaki.
The children came to buy sweets as we visited. 
Work is ongoing at the Camp Khanki, near Duhok, northern Iraq. The camp is large with 3120 tents.
2908 families and 16611 people lives there at the moment. Work is going on, people expect to stay for
a long time.
In the tent, we are sitting face to face to a woman who narrated her ordeal (Not the person in this photo).
She could be 45 years old, but a life of hard work under the Iraqi sun made her skin look older. Next to her 

there was her daughter with an infant on her lap, and her two sons, 11 and 14 years old. They lived in the 
village of Kojo, to the south of Mount Sinjar. 
When ISIS attacked her village on the early hours of August 3, one of her daughters got killed, while she with her
other daughter Nisrin and 2 of her teenage sons, with dozens of other family members, were taken hostage.
 
Lalesh, in northern Iraq, not to far from Duhok, is the spiritual village or the Holiest place for the
Yazidi people. An oil refinery can be seen In the background.  
Hasan Falah Isa and his Daughter Chawan (3years). His wife and youngest daughter, in addition to two of his brothers,  left through the Mediterranean last winter on December 22th 2015. They are now living as asylum
seekers near Cologne in Germany. Hasan could not afford to pay for himself and his daughter Chawan.
On top of the Sinjar mountain, where many Yazidi people have found temporary housing in forms of
random refugee camps. The plains behind is where Sinjar city is located, at the foot of the mountain.
Head of the Peshmerga  military in Sinjar City.
A tunnel is made by ISIS inside this shop.
The Cook at the Peshmerga HQ in Sinjar is Abu Majed. His whole family was taken by ISIS when Sinjar fell in
August 2014. They are still captured by them. He has only heard from one of his daughters, she is the one
wearing a white jacket with dark stripes. She is a slave in Raqqa (Information June 2016).
The Cook at the Peshmerga HQ in Sinjar is Abu Majed. His whole family was taken by ISIS when Sinjar fell in
August 2014. They are still captured by them. He has only heard from one of his daughters, she is the one
wearing a white jacket with dark stripes. She is a slave in Raqqa.
Sinjar city, the destruction of the city of Sinjar is massive. Sinjar was "liberated by the international 
coalition and local Peshmerga forces in November last year but us still difficult to access and it is 
mostly destroyed. Peshmerga soldiers tries to protect the city. The destruction of Sinjar is massive- 
it will take a long time to rebuild
As Sinjar was liberated in November 2015 Peshmerga soldiers continues to keep what is left of 
Sinjar city safe. Networks of tunnels between the buildings were found by Peshmerga soldiers 
after international air strikes helped liberating the city.
Hospital/ Pharmasist Murad Kuro Murad.
The medication available at the hospital in Sinjar City, Iraq, June 2016.
There was only one man in the hospital in Sinjar, apart from the pharmacist who showed us around.
The man in the picture is cleaning the dishes after lunch. Most of the hospital was damaged.
Sinjar city on June 2nd 2016.
The hospital in Sinjar City, Iraq, June 2016.
The hospital in Sinjar City, Iraq, June 2016. During ISIS occupation, soldiers used this room at the hospital
to shoot from. 
As Sinjar was liberated in November 2015 Peshmerga soldiers continues to keep what is left of
Sinjar city safe.
Leaving Sinjar City, going accross the Sinjar mountain, following the route the Yazidi did on August 3rd 2014.
In August 2014, the traffic was heavy- resuting in many people not being able to escape ISIS.
Many random refugee camps have been made in the mountain.
Many Yazidi people who fled Sinjar when the city fell in August 2014 have stayed in temporary or 
random camps set up on top of the Sinjar mountain. It is still not safe to move back to Sinjar, 
which is only about 20 minutes drive away. 
Shwan Omar Isa runs a small convenience store on top of the Sinjar mountain.
Shwan Omar Isa runs a small convenience store on top of the Sinjar mountain.
A little child is looking out of her make shift home. Many Yazidi people who fled Sinjar when the city 
fell in August 2014 have stayed in temporary or random camps set up on top of the Sinjar mountain. 
It is not yet safe to move back to Sinjar.
A Yazidi child living with her family in a temporary camp on top of the Sinjar Mountain.
Young Yazidi men playing pool in one of the random road side camps on top of the Sinjar Mountrain.
Mahmoud, former peshmerga soldier, helped with the 'coridor' that helped liberating many Yazidi people
from the Sinjar mountain. People could then walk into Syria and tehn later back in to northern Iraq
on the north side of Mount Sinjar. Mahmod now works for the Yazidi NGO Yassda and their office in
Dogure village at the foot of Mount Sinjar.
This project has been part funded  by 


#photography #documentary #photojournalism #reportage #webster #nikonpro #iraq #keystone
#yazidi #refugee #sinjar #peshmerga #sinjarmountain #neveragain #humanrights #lifeaftergenocide #genocide
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