SURVIVORS OF WAR
More than a year since victory was declared over the Islamic State in Iraq, the struggle is far from over for civilians who survived ISIS’ brutal occupation and the war for liberation. In one of the deadliest urban battles since World War II, an estimated 9,000 to 11,000 civilians were killed in the city of Mosul according to an AP investigation, with thousands more injured by explosive weapons used by ISIS militants and the US-led coalition in its bid to retake the city. Those who were injured continue to carry untold psychological trauma as well as physical pain, with limited access to the specialized medical care they need to help heal their wounds and rebuild their lives.
In September 2018, I was commissioned by the international non-governmental organization Handicap International to capture portraits of men, women and children in Iraq who are survivors of explosive weapons. Hearing their stories was a visceral reminder that conflict doesn’t end with the declaration of victory, and that the suffering continues for the countless civilians caught up in violence.
The images below were exhibited in fifteen cities across France as part of the annual Pyramid of Shoes event, which pays tribute to survivors of explosive weapons, denounces the use of such weapons in populated areas, and raises awareness of their impact on civilians.