May 31st 2017. West Mosul, Iraq.
I sat inside an old abandoned mosque; the giant, beautiful building had once been a place of worship for Daesh, but it had recently been refashioned into a trauma stabilization point (TSP). It was now a place for injured civilians to receive medical care, should they be able to reach our location, about 1.2 km from the contact line. Myself and several of the medics sat inside of the mosque and discussed our lives back in our respective homes; I remember thinking that many of friends were likely enjoying a Memorial Day picnic.
I remember the day well as it had been a relatively quiet one. That all abruptly changed when two Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) humvees pulled up out front of the gate. I heard muffled shouts and myself and the medics ran outside. Another air strike, another shattered family.
This time, it was Zeinabs family.
When you read or watch the news and hear of a bombing, an airstrike or a shelling what do you think, if anything? Does your mind call up an image when those words are spoken? If you're like most of us (including myself until only a few years ago), you may have never considered the human face of war, of those caught in the midst of conflict. Never mind politics; I am talking about people, civilians, caught in the middle.
War looks like a lot of things. Among those, it looks like Zeinab, age 7, of the Zinjili neighborhood of West Mosul. She and her family are among so many in the wrong place at the wrong time. She is the face of war that we too rarely see.