The Hidden Photo

An initiative called The Hidden Photo published a blog post featuring my photograph from Zakho, Iraqi Kurdistan. Here’s the link  in Polish and English: 

In the fall of 2014, I traveled to with journalist colleague Cathy Otten to meet Zakho hospital’s only psychiatrist, Dr. Haitham Abdalrazak. A month early, ISIS forces attacked Yazidi villages, killing men and capturing women, children and the elderly after Kurdish security forces failed to defend them. Those who could fled to Mt. Singar, where they were under siege and suffered from hunger and thirst.

The Yazidis are an ethno-religious minority present in Iraq and neighboring countries. Considered infidels by some, they have oftentimes been persecuted over their history. Beginning in 2014, ISIS enslaved many women, forcing them to convert to Islam before selling them to ISIS fighters.

When we arrived in Zakho, the elementary school had been transformed into a makeshift refugee camp, full of some of the 300,000 internally displaced families.

Many of them were traumatized by what they saw and experienced. Dr. Abdalrazak was working overtime attending to patients when a family came in, attending to a young catatonic woman. Nineteen year-old Wanza was unresponsive since the death of her father. When her father has failed to defend his family from ISIS, he called his daughter, and in desperation, told her goodbye and shot himself.

I’ve seen my share of suffering in the course of my work, but this case was unforgettable. The reaction of the girl to what she’d experienced represented the numerous cruelties inflicted on such innocent people. I find this frame heartbreaking. To me it highlights the sadness and inability of the women to help their sister overcome her psychological breakdown.

Renewed Partnership with Overture Global

I’m once again partnering with Overture Global, who have been publishing my photographs in their magazine and social media

Overture Global brings together leaders in technology and innovation with leaders in the humanitarian, NGO, and development spaces to discuss how we can use technology to alleviate some of the biggest problems plaguing humankind.

Working for International Rescue Committee

During the first week of March, I accompanied Lena Headey, British actor known for her role in the TV series Game of Thrones, to Lesvos island in Greece for the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Headey is an IRC ambassador and has visited refugees on a previous visit to Lesvos in 2016. These are her posts from Instagram and a link to an article which features my photo of Lena. She returned to spotlight the mental health crisis which has resulted from widespread suffering and disillusionment, after about 10,000 asylum-seekers spent another miserable, rainy winter in the island camps, many in crowded tents. We had the chance to tour the infamous government-run Moria camp, where thousands of men, women and children asylum-seekers are made to wait months (and in some cases, years) for their status to be determined. For many, the situation is hopeless. Even if they are granted status in Greece, it’s a dead-end. They cannot legally move from Greece to other European countries, and Greece offers little in terms of job opportunities for those deemed refugees. Many will eventually fall into poverty and despair and some will chose to return to their country of origin after a harrowing experience in Europe. Lena was interviewed on PBS’ Amanpour & Co. I shot the video from the camp visit which is featured towards the beginning of the interview. 

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