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82 Percent of Displaced Iraqis Are Women and Kids, Like These

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.


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MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
I read an article in Marie Claire about Iraqi refugee women in Amman who have been reduced to prostituting themselves to stay alive. It is quite sobering to see pictures of these children and read stories like the one in Marie Claire. Here is a link to the story reproduced on their web site if anyone is interested.
stephley stephley 8 years
People just turn away - there have been plenty of pictures of parents cradling the bodies of blown up kids, or naked little girls burned all over by napalm. We give the photographers awards and move on.
raciccarone raciccarone 8 years
If they showed more pictures of what happened to children during a war, I think people would be less likely to jump into them. I know, and if everyone had a basket of rainbow muffins made of chocolate kisses, we'd all be happier. Sometimes I get all Pollyanna about the damnend kids!
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
This is heart-breaking.
stephley stephley 8 years
In addition to the Iraqis who have lost so much and are stuck in the country, aid groups say the Iraq war has caused Middle East's largest refugee crisis since 1948. A number of countries are having problems dealing with the demand for services and the fight for jobs - if we think we have trouble dealing with a flood of illegal immigrants, what can be happening there?
CitizenSugar CitizenSugar 8 years
LadyAngel, that sounds like a great idea! Where did you sign up to do this? Is there a website?
LadyAngel89 LadyAngel89 8 years
M$ donates to UNICEF through their I'M initiative. I've been doing that for a long time. They donate a little bit every time you send an I'M or an email through their sites. Every little bit counts :)
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