'Breaking down the ignorance that pushes us to fight'

| 21 Sep 2017 | 01:35

My name is Sam Kimball. I was born and raised in Warwick. I'm a journalist and have just returned from Iraq where I've lived and reported since January. And now, I am raising money through a Kickstarter page (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1501673584/unheard-the-voices-of-iraq?ref=creator_nav, or visit Kickstarter.com and type "UNHEARD: The Voices of Iraq" to find my project) to create a series of podcasts that will paint a picture of several ordinary Iraqis’ life stories. The project is called UNHEARD: The Voices of Iraq. And I need your help to make it possible.
To tell stories that illustrate how ordinary Iraqis are suffering under the triple pressures of radical Islamist militants, an abusive government and foreign intervention, I've decided to pursue intensive training in storytelling techniques and radio production. After completing this two-month course, I will return to Iraq later this year and partner with a local media organization to train several young Iraqi journalists, to produce professional and artful podcasts. The journalists in Iraq today are hard pressed to find training in the skills I will receive; I will pass on my newly acquired skills to them.
The project I will produce through these podcasts will tell the story of a young Iraqi man from the town of Hawija, who participated in protests in 2013 which demanded better treatment from the government only to be shot down by government troops, creating desperation that allowed for the Islamic State takeover in 2014. The other story is that of a woman from the old city of Mosul, whose husband was executed by the Islamic State in 2014 and who in June lost 11 relatives in an American airstrike. Yet another will tell the story of my friend, a Kurdish journalist and lawyer in northern Iraq who struggles to practice his profession while being harassed and condemned by local authorities not pleased with his investigative work. After these initial characters, I hope to continue the podcasts to cover additional characters whom I'll select with the help of my local colleagues.
I'm well-qualified to create such a project because of my already deep knowledge of the on-the-ground situation in Iraq, my fluency in Arabic, and my trust and familiarity with the characters the podcasts will follow.
Projects like mine can serve to build solidarity and understanding between ordinary people in the U.S. and Iraq, giving insight into the lives of people in one of the world's least stable places and breaking down the ignorance that pushes us to fight. Please join me to make this idea a reality.
Many thanks for your consideration.
Sam Kimball