I brake for pictures of children in the throes of chaos created by adults. It's a heartbreaking perspective to the headlines so often consumed by verbs: bombings, attacks, sanctions — it's the ongoing situations, those interminable realities that get forgotten. Like these children in Iraq. They're part of a growing number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who've been driven from their homes. These children are part of Shia families displaced due to Shia-Sunni warring sparked in 2006 when a famous Shia shrine was bombed north of Baghdad.
Though wars are most often fought in the headlines through the eyes of the warriors, like the news 650 cadets have graduated from Iraq's military academies, the seeming progress of that headline is lost when you consider that 82 percent of the displaced are women and children. I don't often wax emotional, but the idea of growing up like this, surrounded by chaos and devastation and powerless to change it — it's the definition of tragedy.
To see how many are affected, and how you can help,
According to the head of Diyala provincial council about 25,000 families like those pictured, some 150,000 individuals have been displaced in Diyala since the US-led invasion in 2003, but only about 600 families have returned. And the number of families just like these are growing: the number of IDPs in Iraq has increased by 3,234 people by the end of May, bringing the total number to 2,169,920, more people than live in the entire state of New Mexico.
According to UNICEF, globally there are 25 million people just like these kids — and the organization can use your help. They do everything from set up schools to give the kids a sense of normalcy to making sure they have water. I don't know of a better motivation to help than these kids' faces.