This post should launch on the day when I’ve been telling my friends and co-workers that I’m going to be eaten by a grizzly bear. Alex and I will be on our first day of two in Yellowstone on Friday, July 15 (Leap Year is so weird; last year, Friday was July 17 so the corresponding Friday this year should be the 16th, but because of Leap Year, it becomes the 15th). We fully intend to leave the path and go at least 100 yards into the backcountry. The official statistics say that something like 5% go farther than 100 yards from a paved path. So, since I like to live on the edge, I fully intend to go at least 101 yards from a paved path.
However, I’m not an idiot. At least, I hope I’m not. We’ll have fruit and water and probably something salty (because passing out from hyponatremia’s not my idea of a good time) with us and I fully intend to tell the park rangers that we’re relative newbies and ask where is a prudent place to experiment with the backcountry. I won’t have a keyboard with me, so I won’t be writing any new posts until I get back. You’ll know on or around July 21 where we ended up going.
Now, on to the issue:
The Other Iraq, by Neil Shea, photographs by Yuri Kozryev
In 1970, Iraqi Kurdistan achieved an autonomous status within Iraq. Iraqi Kurds had their own capital, Hewler/Erbil (depending on if the language is Kurdish or Arabic), their own President and Prime Minister (I’m not entirely sure how that works in practice), even their own army (the Peshmerga).
Since the deposition of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraqi Kurdistan has had a sort of Renaissance. The Kurds sold the oil under their land and used the money to build universities, to establish a health care system, and to upgrade their cities with malls and skyscrapers.
In The Other Iraq, Shea follows two Iraqi men, Kurdish Botan Sharbarzheri, who dropped out of school to join the Peshmerga, and Arabic Sami Hussein, who joined ISIS. Through the tales of these men, we see how Iraqi Kurdistan has suffered from the forces of ISIS.
By Shea’s final visit to Iraqi Kurdistan, Sharbarzheri has returned to school to study international relations and Hussein has most likely been executed. The of Iraqi Kurdistan is a shadow of its former self, with much of its population gone to join family in other parts of the world or just become straight-out refugees.
Tsunami Memories, by Jeremy Berlin, photographs by Alejandro Chaskielberg
Tsunami Memories discusses Chaskielberg’s photographs of the people of Otsuchi, Japan, a town that was destroyed by the 2011 tsunami. Inspired by faded photographs that Chaskielberg saw in a waterlogged photo album, Chaskielberg took black-and-white photographs of the residents of Otsuchi in the places where they lived, worked, or played. He took his photos at night with a long exposure so that the images turn out slightly blurred and then added colors on his computer using a palette based on the colors in the damaged photo album.