Mosul’s Children Just Want to be Remembered

“Take my picture! Take my picture!”

A few miles from the Mosul front lines, boys gathered in clusters behind our tall orange truck loaded with food. Their fathers cued in a long line nearby, patiently waiting their turn to receive aid. Liberated from ISIS just two days earlier, it had been a long time since any of them were able to find much food.

The brave boys came to me first, my camera at the ready to document the day’s distribution.

“Take my picture!”

How could I refuse?!

The shy boys hung back as I moved through the group, carefully taking photos. First—traditional, serious poses. Then another set of photos while I made silly faces or rude noises to make them laugh. The kids always like the laughing photos best. I make a fool of myself for 20 minutes, and it’s the very best part of the day.

It took a little while for me to grasp what was happening in this moment.

None of boys asked for photos for themselves—they had no way to get them. None of them have cell phones or cameras. ISIS took them all years ago. None of the boys had any expectations of seeing their faces on Facebook; they have no way of connecting to the internet. ISIS took that too.

They simply wanted to be remembered.

They wanted us to remember them. They want to feel that they matter.

Each boy waited his turn for someone out there in the world to bear witness to his existence.

Today, as you look at each face, you are answering the call of children from a small Iraqi village, a handful of miles from the front lines near Mosul. You bear witness to their life.

They matter to us. We believe they matter to you too.

Stand with the children of Mosul. Show them they are not alone or forgotten. Every $65 you give can feed a displaced family for a month.

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