They Are At War – Everyone Else Is At The Mall

first published on July 7, 2017 by

While the conflicts in Syria and Iraq continue to rage, the population of the world has decided to look the other way.

It’s easy to forget that the world is currently at war. The Ukraine has had a shadow conflict present within it’s borders since 2014. The Philippines are at the brink of a total conflict with an ISIS affiliate group. There is a proxy conflict that has been happening in Syria for six years. Iraq has been torn by war since 2003. The conflict in Afghanistan has been raging since 2001. Yet, a majority of the world’s population still chooses to look the other way and say nothing, as if doing so wills the conflicts out of existence.

It’s easier to do this. It’s easier for the average person to think to themselves that these conflicts don’t involve them, and therefore are not their problem. It has gotten to the point that a majority of people probably couldn’t tell you what Marawi, Aleppo, Mosul, Kabul or Donetesk is, let alone what’s happening in the countries that actually own those cities. We see two to three minute spots on the news about these locations, and they usually involve some sort of chemical attack or other atrocity committed against civilians. Yet as a majority, we still choose to not speak about these subjects.

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It makes sense to some extent. War is an ugly creation of man, generally fought by the young over useless political and religious needs of very powerful men. It’s extremely easy to look at these scenarios and just think to oneself This is not my problem. I have to go to work. Are we doing the people affected by these conflicts a disservice though? Would the situation be any different if the combat had been raging in the streets of San Francisco for the past six months?

I think that we should pay attention to these conflicts. I think our awareness, our attention, and our voices could have a very real impact on the way that the political elite make decisions about how to end these conflicts. If you have been paying attention, go back to Facebook and tag someone on your friends list who has forgotten about all of these conflicts, and point them to this article. Below is a series of photographs from a conflict photo-journalist named Kainoa Little, who was unable to have any organization publish his photographs because there is little to no interest, and therefore little to no profit to be made out of the battle raging in Mosul.

My name is Kainoa Little, and I am a Shoreline, Washington-based conflict photographer. I was in Mosul in April and May 2017, documenting Iraqi forces as they fought Islamic State militants to liberate the city.

I tried and failed to find newspapers and wire services who would purchase my photos. But the soldiers had fed me and given me a seat in their Humvees, and the refugees had tolerated my presence on some of the worst days of their lives. They very rightly expected that I would tell their story.

The worst uncertainty for me as a freelancer in conflict isn’t that I won’t be able to pay my rent; it’s that no one will see the story, and then I will have failed to give a voice to the voiceless. So I have tried to share them where I can, and hopefully people can imagine some of the human tragedy and triumph playing out in Mosul.

We are publishing the photographs on Funker530 because they are stunning. They show something the rest of the world chooses to ignore. The description for each photo will be directly below the picture.

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Federal Police prepare for battle in the Old City. This machine gunner is organizing his ammo.

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Federal Police enter a theater suspected of containing an explosive device as they try to take control of the block in the Old City.

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Federal Police enter a theater in the Old City. Seconds later, an Islamic State gunman opened fire from the upper rafters.

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Federal Police in the theater.

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Federal Police clear sections of the theater.

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A Federal Policeman takes fire from the other side of a theater. Several bullets impacted the other side of the wall near where he had been looking through a window.

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A Federal Policeman runs across exposed ground on the roof of the theater.

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Federal Police exchange fire with ISIS across the theater.

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Refugees fleeing Mosul as Iraqi Army humvees go into battle.

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Dave Eubank of the Free Burma Rangers attempts save a sniper victim.

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The Free Burma Rangers.

If you would like to see more work from Kainoa Little, you can find it at this link. There is a number of photographs taken by the journalist in Mosul, and many are available for purchase as prints. Remember to head back to Facebook and tag someone in this post that has forgotten that the world is in fact at war.

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