CUDDLY TOYS AND RIFLES, ROAD TO MOSUL


Iraq, October 2016.


Young girls are training on Bashiqa frontline. Some of them, who look like children, are carrying cuddly toys. When asked if they are minors, the leader of their party, PAK, Hussein Yazdanpanah, a Stalin lookalike, responds with embarrassment: "This generation is like that, their faces do not show their true age."


These young soldiers are often put forward as valorous warriors by their party for their propaganda - an image enthusiastically forwarded by the media. They are illustrated in an entirely different reality. 


Far from the war staged for the media and its subsequent treatment of violence, the battle of Mosul is looming. Immersed in this conflict, PAK recruits feel that they are embodying this image of strong, independent woman who has been sold to them. However, Hussein Yazdanpanah perpetuates the patriarchal aspect that had caused them to flee their homes in Iran: instead of being at home to take care of household tasks, they fill sacks of earth to reinforce the lines that only men will cross. So what do these girls, who fight Daesh with AK-47s marked "Mama I love you", do in this war that does not even seem to be their own? Naim has long black tightly attached hair and a wise and reserved child's face. She said she is 18 but looks 13. Naim is a few kilometers from Mosul. She runs to a forgotten toy, a white plastic house with a coral roof - a childhood lost too early.

Notes from Kurdistan Aslaniee

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