I attended a talk and dinner with Sebastian Meyer, an award-winning photographer and filmmaker, who lived and worked in Iraq documenting the Kurdish community struggle through war in hopes of regaining autonomy and peace. Kurds are an ethnic group native to a mountainous region known as Kurdistan, which spans southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran, northern Iraq, and northern Syria. The Kurds residing in Iraq faced war (2008 – 2014) in an effort to gain back land in the region and receive political rights in the wake of the U.S. occupation of Iraq in 2003. Meyer was employed by a British film company to take portraits of the survivors of the Anfal genocide in Iraq, an anti-Kurdish genocidal campaign in 1988, and found himself staying in Kurdistan for several years afterwards. In his time in Iraq, he documented, through photographs, the Kurdish resilience against all odds. He quotes, “Iraq’s Kurds have paid a heavy price in their fight for self-determination, oppressed by British colonialists, Iraqi monarchists and Saddam’s Ba’athists alike. Every decade has been marred by genocide or displacement, often both.” Meyer published a photography book titled Under Every Yard of Sky which is a collection of some of his photographs of the Kurdish community and tells a story of a great nation fighting for equality.
Photographs above cited below:
“Photographs.” SEBASTIAN MEYER. Accessed May 3, 2020. https://www.sebmeyer.com/photographs.