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The Hard Work of Restoring Home After ISIS


There are no windows or doors in Fahti’s house yet. We sit in a circle on the floor of his living room, with Fahti and his brother Sami, discussing how tough it’s been to rebuild their homes after ISIS destroyed them.

To Our Friends in Las Vegas

To everyone in Las Vegas, still reeling from last night’s attack…

To the 22,000 people attending what should have been a night of music and celebration…

To first responders and ordinary citizens who put their lives at risk to save others while bullets were still flying…

Iraq Blocks International Flights In and Out of Kurdistan. Why This Matters…

Erbil International Airport is no longer open for international flights. Photo by Jeffrey Beall / CC BY 3.0.

The last international flight left Iraqi Kurdistan tonight, as authorities in Baghdad imposed an air embargo over the region, in response to Monday’s independence referendum. The embargo affects our staff in the area, making travel in and out of Kurdistan far more difficult. It has the potential to disrupt our work with refugee families here. It’s also affecting the livelihoods of thousands of people in an already fragile economy.

Fighting for the Forgotten in Houston

The picture of his precious little face on the fridge still haunts me a little bit.

“When I grow up I want to be: a soldier.”

I didn’t meet Mateo's 10-year-old son that day in Houston, but his smile claws at my heart when I think of him. To me, he represents some of the deep social injustices that were laid bare by Hurricane Harvey.

These Kurds and Arabs Choose Each Other Over Political Discord

Almost every night, Ghazwan Ahmad’s relatives in Baghdad get in touch. Are the Kurds attacking you? they ask. How are they treating the Arabs up there?

Every time he hears such questions, Ahmad, 30, says he gets a little shock.

Kurdistan Votes for Independence. What Comes Next?

On Monday, people in the Kurdistan region of Iraq voted in an independence referendum, and the results are in: it’s a “yes” for independence.

What does a  “yes” vote actually mean? What will change and how will Iraqi Kurdistan’s neighbors respond? All of that is still unclear to many. There is a lot of confusion and misinformation—not to mention concerns over the actual voting process. And the fact that very few global news outlets are covering the referendum doesn’t help.

North Korea: Our Rhetoric Could Make War a Foregone Conclusion

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) in South Korea. Photo by the Missile Defense Agency.

Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, military leaders promised a campaign of “shock and awe” that would deliver swift, decisive victory. Almost 15 years later, we are still dealing with the fallout of war.

Now we’re on the edge an even more perilous conflict in North Korea. This summer, President Trump promised to meet any hostility from North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Since then, the rhetoric has only ratcheted up on both sides.

A Prayer of Thanks and A Pile of Debris in Houston

For our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life, we give thee thanks.

A six-foot pile of debris greeted us as we got out of the car. On top was this prayer—hand stitched, framed… and now discarded. Another casualty of Hurricane Harvey.

Partnering with Those Who Lost Everything

Sami had driven past his former shop a couple times, but he hadn’t stopped to really look at what was left of his business.

The truth is, there wasn’t much to look at. The only thing we could find was a single broken kettle. It survived thousands of cups of tea served to Sami’s customers, but it didn't survive ISIS.

Peacemaker Friday: Painting Their Way to Peace

Peace is not for someone else to make. It’s for you to make. With whatever tools and skills you have available to you.

I was chatting with a friend a while back and he told me how he desperately wanted to do something to make the world a better place, but didn’t feel like there was anything he could do.

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