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Dreams of Independence: Reflections on the Eve of the Kurdish Referendum

I first came to Kurdistan in late July of 2014. My first month was coloured with constant conversations and anxiety surrounding ISIS and it’s seizure of Kurdish land. My television was fixed on news stations as my colleagues and I watched more and more of this region succumb to the brutal takeover of ISIS. I watched the images of Mosul, Sinjar and countless other villages falling to ISIS control with horror. I read the stories of the barbaric murder, rape, and torture of civilians and watched as the IDP population in Erbil grew exponentially. I knew I was bearing witness to a dangerous darkness - one that lead me to question the resiliency of our collective humanity.

Back home, the media and politicians exploited the terrible images coming out of this region to fuel their Islamophobic rhetoric and policies. The saturation of these images in the media at that time made the general public easy prey for fear based politics, its effect felt most seriously on immigration and refugee polic…

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