Everywhere #Paris #WallsBearWitness

Photo and video by Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

Photo and video by Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

We spent three days in Washington, D.C. earlier this week, there to see an exhibit of Mackenzie’s photos at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum as part of their Our Walls Bear Witness series.  The photos and a video, projected on the outside walls of the Museum, brought the faces and stories of imperiled minorities in Northern Iraq in to stark focus.  Organized by the Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, there was a panel discussing the self-proclaimed Islamic State’s violence against religious and ethnic minorities, followed by the photo exhibit, part of efforts to hold true to the Museum’s imperative, “Never Again.”

And yet here we are, another morning of mourning, as we face the reality of terrorists calling their lethal violence “miracles,” religious extremists whose moral priorities somehow justify killing innocent civilians.

David interviewed people who were watching the video and loop of photographs on Monday night, not realizing how powerful and true their words would be by the end of the week.  An Iraqi refugee woman who is now a “proud citizen of America” said, “Sadness, sadness, because we have seen it and history repeated itself, every time since ages is the same.  It’s all sad.  Have you heard anything good in the news?  Always bad.”

A Kurdish man, who came to the panel and exhibit to support his “fellow Yezidis,” though he isn’t Yezidi himself, said, “It’s everywhere.”

Indeed.

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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