A portrait of Jessica

Meet our new Fulfillment Coordinator, Jessica Vaughan!

As Fulfillment Coordinator, Jessica will be helping us with data entry, donor communication, and stateside representation. Jessica is one of the most enthusiastic, compassionate individuals we've ever met! We're so excited to have her join us, we wanted to take a minute to introduce you to her!

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"Iraqi poets en route to Baghdad to spread peace"

An Iraqi poet reciting from a podium

By Omar al-Jaffal for Al Monitor

BAGHDAD — On Oct. 11, three poets from Karbala province will initiate the “Iraqi Poets’ Anti-Violence Convoy,” which will take off from the southern province of Basra and cross through nine other provinces. Members of the convoy will recite poetry in public squares near historic landmarks. According to the organizers of the convoy, the initiative aims to help eliminate the rampant violence in the country.

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Iraqi soldiers

The Iraqi army is suffering badly from what locals describe as the “astronaut phenomenon”.

That is, soldiers who pay money to superior officers so they can leave the world of the military and stay out of danger, far from the battle field. This means that sometimes when a general sends a battalion to fight, only half the soldiers are there. And recently, with attacks by extremists, this phenomenon has been getting worse. 

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A collage of email forward screenshots

Ah, email forwards.

I would make fun, but how else would we keep up with estranged uncles or sweet little old ladies? Most of the forwards I get are silly updates about cats hanging from ceiling fans or goldfish funeral stories, even the occasional political jab, but I've noticed an Iraq-related forward making the rounds that is deadly serious, and I’d like to address it here.

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A Kurdish protest
Since the beginning of the year the authorities in Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan have had a financial stand off.
The Iraqi Kurdish have done everything they can to support themselves, from exporting oil to asking for international loans. But now the situation is getting dire: more bankruptcies, less trade, stalled projects and despairing businessmen committing suicide.

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