A destroyed home remains empty a over a year after ISIS attacked the village of Gara Sur in the summer of 2014.

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The children of Samed Ismael Ali, a farmer in the village of Gara Sur which sits just outside the city of Makhmur, Iraq, play in the local school which was destroyed by ISIS forces in the summer of 2014.

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This fall I will return to Iraqi Kurdistan to take on the second phase of my long-term multimedia project. Entitled One Hour Sooner, the project, which started in 2015, is being conducted over multiple reporting trips where the war with ISIS threatens the way of life for industrial farmers and their families living near the peshmerga front line. 


This project is more than just a story about how farmers survive war. It is a story about people living on the margins of society; whose voices deserve our attention, and whose livelihoods are in danger. It is a story about how we value land, treat the environment and how our narratives of dealing with conflict change over time.


Click here to see the project site.

Ploughs sit at the edge of a field outside the city of Makhmur.

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Farmer Samed Ismael Ali near his home in the village of Gara Sur. His family, who once relied on large-scale agriculture, now depends on livestock for money. Getting to Ali’s house requires driving past the second-to-last peshmerga checkpoint.

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Samed and his son walk back home after exploring the area. Only four of the original twenty families moved back after the area was cleared despite living just a few kilometers from the peshmerga front line.

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A cornfield in the farming village of Chakhmaka remains despite the dangers of a war just down the road. The village and surrounding area was once considered no-man’s-land. Improvised Explosive Devices, planted by ISIS in the fields, continue to claim victims.

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A defensive position stands outside the city of Dibis, Iraq.

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A portrait of Hamid Nuree made during his interview. Nuree, and other Kurds in his village, brokered an agreement with local Arab businessmen as means of securing an outlet to their sell crops as the Kurdish government still owes them money for the previous two years.

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The wife of farmer Abdul Kadr Muhammed inside their home in Busheon, Iraq. Busheon, which sits near the oil city of Kalak, has stopped all large-scale industrial farming due to recurring ISIS artillery and rocket attacks.

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The village of Gara Sur remains mostly abandoned despite being rescued by peshmerga forces in the summer of 2014. ISIS forces, which only held the area for 72-hours, set dozens of boobytraps around the village.

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Shepherds from the village of Gara Sur move their flock back to their barn. The village sits just twenty minutes back from the peshmerga front line.

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Abdul Kadr Muhammed, a local council member leader and former peshmerga soldier, inside his bedroom in the farming village of Busheon, Iraq.

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