[Published here March 18, 2014]
ON MARCH 8th, while the world celebrated International Women’s Day to recognise progress in women’s rights, two women in Iraqi Kurdistan set themselves on fire. Self-immolation as a dramatic and deadly form of protest by women is known across the Middle East, from Egypt to Pakistan. But it has become alarmingly common in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. By some estimates self-burning has claimed the lives of as many as 10,000 women, including girls as young as 13, since the region gained autonomy in 1991.
[Published here March 14, 2014]
Herfeta, an ethnically Kurdish Syrian refugee living in northern Iraq. Image by James Haines-Young
View this powerful photo essay here.
[Published here November 8, 2013]
This is a multimedia piece best experienced on the website itself, but I have also included the text below.
When the uprising hit Damascus, women were at the front lines of the demonstrations – which meant they, like their male peers, were arrested and detained by Syria’s feared security forces. Three of these women, held for their involvement in the peaceful, civil movement, spoke to NOW about their experiences. While their tales of torture are more psychological than physical, the scars remain. Almost incredulously, they call themselves “lucky,” knowing that the cases of more recently-detained Syrian women have become infinitely more gruesome and physically horrific. Though their names have been changed for safety reasons, these women’s stories remain a potent reminder of a terrifying tool still used by Assad’s security forces: detainment.