I received an email this week from After Shocks contributor Nazand Begikhani, an Iraqi Kurdish poet who fled Iraq after her town, Halabja, was bombed with chemical agents by Saddam Hussein's regime in 1988, killing 5,000, mostly women and children. Ms. Begikhani contributed 3 poems to After Shocks that concern her exile and recovery.
"I just came back from the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, where I had to do some field research on gender-based violence. I have noticed in the recent years that feeding people's spirit through words, dreams and hope, is as important as giving them bread. This is certainly true for Iraqi Kurdistan after Saddam Hussein's genocidal campaign of Anfal. My publisher has organised a 'Poetry Promenade' through different towns and cities of Kurdistan, and I have felt very emotional by direct encounters with local people. I am still recovering from that..."