August 10, 2011

Iraqi Kurdistan / Ian MacLellan

1. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Parliament building. The residents and government of Kurdistan have largely put aside their personal grievances together as a region for a peaceful, democratic, federal Iraq rather than fight for their own independent state. 

2. Zerevani soldiers practice hand-to-hand combat. The Zerevani, like the rest of the Kurdish military and government, are transitioning from fighting in the mountains to organizing a region and providing regular services and support.

3. Woman Zerevani Soldier.

4. New suburban development in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. The community is organized into neighborhoods and has a small amusement park.

5. Yazidi shrine in Lalish, Iraqi Kurdistan. The region is populated with Kurds, Turkmen, Armenians, Yazidis, Roma, Mandaea, and other ethnic groups from across the Middle East all living in the same and nearby cities and villages. Kurdish culture has its roots in extremely ancient societies along the Tigris River and has been repressed and destroyed for centuries. Their culture is now a creation and amalgamation of both indigenous and ancient Iranian traditions and a reaction against modern Turkish, Persian and Arab influences.

6. Soldiers photograph one another next to the eternal flame in Kirkuk. The flame is a slow natural gas seep. The Kirkuk region has valuable natural gas and petroleum reserves and produces electricity for Baghdad, but residents have power for only a few hours a day. Security is also a much larger concern in Kirkuk than Iraqi Kurdistan because of foreign intervention into the politics and a proliferation of terrorism.

 7. A farmhouse outside of Kirkuk that was used as a prison to house Kurds during Saddam’s regime.

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