Books: Scrapbook of the Stateless

Acclaimed photojournalist Susan Meiselas revisited Kurdistan. Here’s what she found.

Photo: Mark Murrmann

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In 1991, in the wake of the Gulf War, acclaimed photojournalist Susan Meiselas traveled to northern Iraq to document the uncovering of mass graves of Kurds gassed and shot by Saddam Hussein. Her visit inspired her to create Kurdistan, a 400-page visual journey through the often-neglected culture of the people spread across the mountains of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. Packed, scrapbooklike, with old portraits, postcards, maps, and newspaper clippings, Kurdistan is an absorbing archive of the world’s largest stateless ethnic group. A collectors’ item, the book is now being reissued by the University of Chicago Press with a new 12-page postscript that updates the 1997 original. “The book went out of print right before the [Iraq] war, right when there was a renewed interest in the Kurds,” says Meiselas. “I’ve been trying to get it back in print for four or five years.” Meiselas returned to northern Iraq in April to distribute copies of the new edition. “I knew how the book was embraced by the exiled Kurdish community,” she says, “but had no idea how well known it was in northern Iraq. So many people had heard of it; some had even seen it.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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