Dreams to Nightmares: Food and Health in Communities Displaced by ISIS

I first visited Iraqi Kurdistan in 2015. An NGO focused on human rights observation was leading delegations to Iraqi Kurdistan to educate the public about realities on the ground in Iraq. During this time, I learned about the health of  communities internally displaced by violence from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. IDPs (Internally Displaced People), like refugees, are forced from their homes. However, they flee without crossing any international borders. IDPs are even more vulnerable than refugees because they are subject to fewer protections under international law, remain closer to conflict zones, and often lack access to healthcare, food, and other necessities. That initial visit to Iraqi Kurdistan gave me Ideas for my anthropology dissertation even before beginning my PhD. One particular meeting with the sheikh (leader) of a Yazidi community in a local camp inspired deeper thought. My delegation visited the sheikh in his tent. The NGO partners interviewed him and translated while I sat in and observed. We learned about the family’s experience escaping from Mt. Sinjar and their subsequent life in the camp. In a small tent, surrounded by his wife and two young daughters, the sheikh recounted the suffering, disease, and death […]

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