Militants from ISIS, a.k.a. the Islamic State/ISIL (or whatever else you’d like to name the terrorist group that’s been wreaking havoc on Middle Eastern society and by proxy, much of the rest of the world), has kidnapped close to 7,000 Yazidi women and children within the past two months to be kept as slaves and forced into marriages with strangers. Many of those who were kidnapped saw their husbands, fathers and other male relatives murdered before their eyes. The victims, members of the Kurdish Yazidi religious group (which ISIS has heavily targeted), are from the Sinjar region of northern Iraq, an area that’s now been overtaken by the terrorist group. Here are five things to know about the nightmarish kidnappings. Keep reading »
This past week, 32-year-old mother of five Shaima Alawadi was found brutally beaten in her El Cajon, California, home, her head bashed in with a tire iron. She was taken unconscious to a local hospital, but just three days later her family opted to take her off life support. She died this past Saturday.
While police still haven’t officially labeled Alawadi’s death a hate crime, it’s clear that Alawadi’s ethnic and religious background was on the minds of the perpetrators. A note was left at the scene of the crime, and though police aren’t saying what the note said, they did reveal that a similar note was left at the house the previous month. Said Alawadi’s 17-year-old daughter Fatima, “A week ago they left a letter saying this is our country not yours you terrorist, and so my mom ignored that thinking it was just kids playing a prank. But the day they hit her, they left another note again, and it said the same thing.” Keep reading »
While the war in Iraq may have officially ended last week, the U.S. soldiers who were stationed there will be feeling the after effects of life in a warzone for some time. As soldiers and Army personnel are reunited with their American friends and family, they are often leaving behind their Iraqi family — the many stray Iraqi dogs the soldiers bonded with and took care of while serving overseas. The pups provided an invaluable emotional support to the men and women and many returning soldiers are now working with a program called Operation Baghdad Pups to bring their Iraqi pets to the States. Keep reading »
We tend to think of human trafficking as something that happens over there, a crime committed by someone else. But, as discussed in a piece in the current issue of The New Yorker, it turns out that human trafficking is part of the bedrock that keeps the U.S. military afloat in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. And poor women from around the world are its victims. Keep reading »
Stephanie was the last person you would expect to join the Army. The absolute last person. You can ask anyone who knew her growing up and they would all say she seemed destined for the most hippie college you could think of.
We became friends through Girl Scouts and stayed best friends for years after. She was the dynamic, personable one and I was like a shy, muted version of her. Or I wished I was a muted version of her — being anything like Stephanie at all would have made me happy. Keep reading »