Issue

On War and Peace

Twenty years after the Rwandan genocide, thousands of maimed amputees remind us of the war that took 500,000 lives in 100 days. War leaves marks that cannot be erased—not only in Rwanda, but on every continent.

Reporting from On War and Peace examines the roots of conflict, whether it be religious hatred, sectarian rivalry, a security vacuum, the struggle for natural resources, or the desperation that results from poverty.

Pulitzer Center journalists also cover war’s aftermath: the transitional governments that result in chaos, diplomacy that goes awry, peace talks that never end, and the people who suffer the consequences, young and old. We see the children who go hungry, lose their homes, leave school, become combatants, or join the jihad.

Often the end to conflict leaves turmoil in its wake while the road to peace seems circuitous: In South Sudan, rebel-commanders-turned politicians plunge the country into civil war. In the U.S., troops return home from one war only to be re-deployed to another. But everywhere, in every conflict, there are also voices crying out for peace, determined to heal the divide.

On War and Peace

Mohajereen

David Enders, for the Pulitzer Center
Iraq

Sabieh Fayhaa walks half a kilometer for clean water in Chikook, a neigborhood that is home to about 650 displaced families in western Baghdad. People in the neighborhood say they have no access to schools and medical care and that they have received no aid from the government or organizations such as the Iraqi Red Crescent.

Watched

David Enders, for the Pulitzer Center
Iraq

When I ask Baghdadis about whether their neighborhoods are safe, they do not say, "It is okay, the Iraqi police or army are there." They don't mention the US military. The only ones who have told me it is safe have said that things are okay "because of the Jeish al-Mehdi." This goes for an increasing number of neighborhoods, especially in Rusafa (East Baghdad).

'some day, this war will be over.'

Richard Rowley, for the Pulitzer Center
Iraq

until i picked up a camera, i didn't know how to see.

pupils dilate in this strange early dusk.
a damp taste to the air behind the sand storm.
in the shallows of my focus the world deepens into texture.
color rushes in like bruises blossoming in pale skin.
reds and greens.

blue camouflage - the color of twilight among the date-palms.
he waves us off the road.
gun metal clicks against safety-glass.
tattered papers pushed through the window.

About Suffering They Were Never Wrong

the hotel restaurant is almost emptyrussian security guards, turkish beer and bottles of absolut.

baghdad is a warm monochrome yellow-brown - far from the rain-grayed stone of petersburg and the concrete of brooklyn.

regime members once used this place to meet their mistresses.rubenesque portraits of iraqi women and torn velvet curtains.past the snipers' nests you can see the gold domes of Uday's pleasure palace.

'we do most of our reporting by telephone now.''it's a fun story - so many human angles. . .'

about suffering they were never wrong, The Old Masters.

they would understand the hennaed hair of the girls fleeing Taji,

the 100 songbirds above the roar of diesel generators,

the way 50 cals tear sheet metal like paperand safety-glass turns to piles of green tinted diamonds on the floorboards.and seat upholstery drinks in stains - deep, dark, brown

the feel of rosewater on sunburt skin,

the crackling kalashnikov fire - iraq 3, australia 1

. . .three journalists died today.the iraqi stringer called his mother before he died - 'hi mom. i've been shot.'

today is better than tomorrow.

Waiting In Amman

Fans swing back and forth on their columns.The pale woman with dyed black hair, alone in the lobby, staring off into space.The worn wooden desk, the framed portrait of the Hashemite King, the row of keys for rooms that have not been rented in years, the plastic ashtrays scarred by the cigarettes of decades of people left waiting here - just as we are waiting.

She turns, startled, 'Any news from Susan? - We went to school together in Chicago - you know her, I'm sure. . .. . .I'm sure you know her.'

Jameel picks me up in his taxi, on the edge of the third circle. In his wallet is a picture of his father's house in Al Khalil.

The tense heavy feeling of life clotted on hot asphalt - Saadi says - 'like harbor air clots in sea-shells'.

In Mahata, Jawad, sits in his room. The muhabarrat have raided the markets again, and it is not safe to work. . . the scars from his torture have faded now and no Western embassy will take him. Every day he waits for the knock on the door that will send him home to die.

Eight circles of Hell in Amman, you reach the ninth through the airport to Baghdad.