On this Veterans Day week, we offer our gratitude to every veteran who serves and supports our mission, including members of our board of directors and staff.
We would also like to take this opportunity to reflect on the significance of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I.
After years of unfathomable slaughter that claimed the lives of 10 million soldiers and 7.7 million civilians on both sides, it is hard to imagine what it must have been like to have been a soldier serving on the Western Front when the guns fell silent at 11am.
Today in Mosul, Sinjar, Ramadi, and other war-torn areas across Iraq, the guns have also fallen silent. Yet it is critically important to ensure that silence doesn’t conceal the ongoing humanitarian needs or security challenges that remain. In a recent Policy Brief for the European Council on Foreign Relations, Rania Abouzeid writes: “While military campaigns are inherently dramatic, terrifying, and newsworthy, what happens after the weapons fall silent and global attention turns elsewhere is also critical to avoiding cyclical violence and instability.”
It has been nearly a year since Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared an end to the war that displaced 5.6 million Iraqis and claimed the lives of well over 67,000 Iraqi civilians. Due to the scale of destruction and contamination of explosive remnants of war — along with the presence of armed militias and fears of reprisals — nearly two million Iraqis are still unable to safely return home. In addition, thousands of Yazidi women and children captured by ISIS remain missing.
Through our research, our advocacy, and our field work, we are committed to helping Iraqi families safely return to their homes and supporting the country’s recovery in ways that can break the cycle of violence unleashed by war.
Today we are thankful to have you as a part of that mission.
P.S. We did it! Thanks to supporters like you, we reached and exceeded our goal of raising $15,000 to bring hope to traumatized families in Iraq. We look forward to reporting on the difference those funds have made in supporting the provision of mental health care services to areas like western Mosul and Sinjar.