Here, Among the Bones and the Living

Here, where the sun burns hot, bleaching the sky to a palest blue. Here, where the shoulders of mountains huddle around a small village.

Here, where 5 years ago the men and old women were rounded up for execution, the children and mothers enslaved.

Here, where the gentle rise of dusty earth belies the horror and tragedy beneath.

Inside the school where the people of Kocho were imprisoned before being executed and enslaved. Photo by Erin Wilson/Preemptive Love

Here, where our friends have been beaten back, beaten down. Here, where genocide isn’t ancient history, but the painful mark of the present.

Here, where mines still litter the earth, where roads are still locked by military checkpoints, where opportunity and choice are scarce commodities.

The abandoned streets of Kocho, Iraq. Photo by Erin Wilson/Preemptive Love

Here, where every morning started with tea and fresh bread, the broken yolk of sun rising over mountain ridges.

Here, where evening prayers and candelight intermingled, the moon crowning the dark.

Here, where every family knows brutal loss and heartbreaking grief, but who rises every day with hope and brave determination.

Photo by Ihsan Ibraheem/Preemptive Love

Here, among the desert and the lush fields, among the proud and the generous, the debilitated and resilient, the hopeless and hopeful.

Here, where peace was massacred.

Here, where peace can be remade.