Blog

In Iraq, "Chemical Free" Is More Than a Luxury. It's a Necessity.

All-natural.

Organic.

100% pure.

Chemical-free.

As we become more aware of what we put into our bodies and into the earth, a growing number of us are drawn to products that carry reassuring labels like these.

The reality is, many of us buy organic, chemical-free products because we can. Because we have the luxury of choice. Because we can afford to pay a premium for products whose ingredients won’t contaminate the earth or jeopardize our health.  

Most Iraqi families do not have this luxury of choice.

What Happens When 20 Christian Pastors Visit a Mosque for the First Time? This.

To be honest, we didn’t know what to expect.

We had never met our Muslim hosts prior to visiting their suburban mosque. We had never met the pastors who chose to accompany us, either. We had no idea how the discussion would go.  

During this year's Q conference, a gathering of Christian thought-leaders in Denver, we hosted a conversation about how we can love our Muslim neighbors in the midst of a cultural moment dominated by ISIS, Islamophobia, and all-around fear.

But we knew that any meaningful dialogue would be impossible if it did not include members of the Muslim community. 

Looking for Hope After an ISIS Chemical Attack

 

Mohammed’s face is defiant behind the oxygen mask. He pulls it away, wheezing.

"I’ll stay here in Taza... I was born here... I’ll die here."

He replaces the mask, gasping for air.

ISIS recently launched a barrage of chemical rockets filled with chlorine and mustard gas on the small Iraqi settlement of Taza, killing a small girl and injuring thousands of civilians. Four of the rockets hit Mohammed’s neighborhood, one of which impacted just a few steps from his playing children.

Peacemaker Fridays: April 22, 2016

A corrupt officer and his victim inspire forgiveness; Muslim teens seek change through slam poetry; Boston marks the marathon bombing anniversary with acts of kindness; and Jewish and Muslim communities worship together in Minnesota.

Here are the week's best stories of people reaching across enemy lines, loving the other, and waging peace...

Iraqi Refugees Protecting Other Refugees... Through Soap

Cholera still exists?!

You’d be forgiven for thinking an old-school disease like cholera belongs on the “extinct” list along with flip phones, corsets, and most 80s music. And for good reason—there hasn’t been a cholera outbreak in the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom in over a century. 

But cholera in the developing world is a very real threat, and it's deadly serious.

Want to See How Sisterhood Soap Is Made?

Making soap is a beautiful process, especially when it's soap that can remake lives.

We thought you might like to see how refugees make each bar of Sisterhood Soap.

The Dream Is Reality: 3 Quick Updates About Sisterhood Soap

Just… wow. 

Your response to Sisterhood Soap has been amazing. A year ago, it was just a dream. We knew it wasn't enough to simply help refugees survive—they deserve better, and you want to give them something better.

Refugees deserve the chance to thrive, to rebuild, to prosper.

Befriending Her Captors in Iraq

"I am your friend."

This is what Nahoko Takato told one of the men who kidnapped her and threatened to slit her throat on camera.

Nahoko, a long-time friend and partner of ours, arrived in Iraq in 2004 to serve children during the war. She saw what was happening on the news and decided she couldn’t sit by.

Peacemaker Fridays: April 15, 2016

One teen's powerful video steps across social lines; a Passover Seder honors Muslims in Chicago; an ex-diplomat's audacious approach to peacemaking; and celebrating Islam in Montana.

Here are the week's best stories of people reaching across enemy lines, loving the other, and waging peace...

More Than ISIS Survivors. They're Our Sisters. And They Make the Most Beautiful Soap.

Many people carry a certain image of Iraq in their heads. They see it as a place of endless warfare and little else, a place that was hopelessly mired in chaos long before ISIS came on the scene.

But Gozê dispels this image with a few simple words:

“We had work. We had a home. Life was really nice.”

“Shingal was so nice,” adds Marwa, Gozê's sister by marriage.

Shingal. That’s what the Yazidi people call their homeland. Others know this patch of earth that hugs the border between Syria and Iraq as Sinjar.

For Gozê and her sisters, life in Sinjar changed forever on August 3, 2014. 

Sisterhood Soap Update: 24 Hours After Launch, Your Response Has Been Amazing!

Since we launched Sisterhood Soap yesterday, your response has been AMAZING. You’ve purchased hundreds of bars of refugee-made soap. Many of you have signed up to become monthly supporters, walking alongside your sisters in Iraq and helping us empower even more refugees-turned-soapmakers.

Introducing Sisterhood Soap: Made by Refugees, Creating Jobs in Iraq

They lost everything to ISIS.

They are mothers. Wives. Daughters. They live in tents and shipping containers. But they are not victims.

They are our sisters.

This Man Says He'll Defuse Mines Until He Dies

It took Hoshyar Ali a while to realize that his right leg was gone, torn off by the force of the explosion. But the de-mining expert, who lost his limb in a 1989 explosion in the Bamo area, in the Iraqi Kurdish province of Sulaymaniyah, says his accident made him even more determined to continue his work.

"People Are Beautiful. So They Should Make Beautiful Things."

Spend enough time in Kurdistan, and you’ll eventually spot him: a white-haired, paint-covered man sitting roadside, surrounded by brushes and cans of acrylic.

His name is Mohammed, but he’s better known by his artist name: Khalaki.

"I’ve been painting for a long time, all over the world—across Europe, Jordan, Baghdad. Eventually I got the idea: why not take the painting out, into the city, so people can enjoy it?"

Peacemaker Fridays: April 8, 2016

An Israeli soldier sees the world through the eyes of a Palestinian child; Syrian refugee girls dream about their future; a Muslim exchange student finds acceptance in Minnesota; a Brussels bombing victim who is Jewish denounces Islamophobia; and athletes celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

Here are the week's best stories of people reaching across enemy lines, loving the other, and waging peace...

I Thought I Understood Why Refugees Run

I thought I understood.

After five years in Iraq with Preemptive Love Coalition, sitting with hundreds of people who’ve endured sweeping violence, I thought I understood why they had to run, why they would travel through minefields and wilderness to put their families into a plastic life raft and risk drowning in the Aegean Sea.

I thought I understood why they were so desperate, but that was before I went to Sinjar.

Libya: Most People "Dare Not Enter." But You Aren't Most People.

Libya is fraying at the seams.

That's the storyline everywhere we turn.

Ever since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011, various factions and militias have fought for control. A UN-backed unity government recently arrived in the capital, Tripoli, but the country remains fractured. ISIS has gained a foothold, drawing thousands of foreign fighters to Libya. And as we shared recently, Libya’s “once-efficient health system” is in crisis.

“The whole system is on its knees,” according Libya’s own Minister of Health, as quoted in the medical journal The Lancet. “More than 80% of our hospitals are either closed or not functioning properly.”

We Drove a Truckload of Chickens Into a Former War Zone. Here’s What We Saw.

Returning, resettling, and rebuilding your homeland after it’s been destroyed by ISIS is hard work, to say the least.

Getting crops in the ground with rocket fire and gun battles on the horizon isn’t easy.

Bringing your children home to hate-filled graffiti on your front door and possible traps hidden inside takes courage and determination.

This is the reality for thousands of families right now in northern Iraq. The region is called Sinjar, and up until ISIS attacked in August 2014, it was home to most of Iraq’s Yazidi minority. Now, as ISIS is pushed out of Sinjar, families are slowly leaving the refugee camps and coming home.

127-Year-Old Photo Shows What Peace Can Look Like in Syria

 

This is the story of Mohammed and Sameer, two friends who lived in Damascus in the late 1800s. One could not see; the other could not walk.

It is said that they were both orphans, constantly together, and totally dependent on one another.

Sameer relied on Mohammed for transportation, and Mohammed needed Sameer to guide him through the busy Damascene streets.

Peacemaker Fridays: April 1, 2016

One man's journey to nonviolence in Palestine; singing and dancing across ethnic divides in Bosnia; supporting refugee youth through soccer in Arizona; and committing 10,000 acts of peace in Nebraska.

Here are the week's best stories of people reaching across enemy lines, loving the other, and waging peace...

Read the blog at Preemptive Love Coalition
Blog
Choose hope, bravery, and peace with me by supporting @preemptivelove