This Portrait Of Freedom Takes Our Breath Away

Image via @JackShahine.


There are everyday images of freedom — flags, parades, and so on — and then there's this. Videographer Shervan Derwish and photographer Jack Shahine captured a powerful moment at the edge of the war against ISIS. The women in the photos have just escaped areas controlled by the so-called Islamic state, where they are forced to cover themselves head to foot.

Here, they're seen yanking off their veils as they cross into Kurdish-controlled areas, in an image that's at once hopeful — and a stark reminder of how dire the situation in the region has gotten.

ISIS, the militant group that's taken over vast swathes of Iraq and Syria, has imposed a radical and oppressive interpretation of Islam on those they rule. Women living in ISIS-controlled areas are no longer allowed to leave the house without two layers of veils and a male companion, The Guardian reports, and local populations of Yazidi women and girls have been forced into sexual slavery by the militants.

The photos were snapped inside the border of the Kurdish YPG-controlled area outside of the Syrian city of Tel Abyad, near Turkey. The images have been making the rounds on social media this week, but it's not clear when exactly they were taken.

According to the Associated Press, the Kurdish YPG (People's Protection Units) are closing in on IS fighters in the area, assisted by U.S. airstrikes. Turkish officials say 3,300 Syrians have entered the country, fleeing the battle.

Were the women planning to make a statement, or just caught in an off-the-cuff moment of joy? It's impossible to say, although the brilliant print on her dress seems to suggest the former. But, it's kind of great to imagine they were wearing wild colors underneath all this time, as a silent act of rebellion.
Advertisement
Advertisement

More from Politics

Update: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney announced in a press conference that dashcam and body cam video of the department's interaction with...
Election Day lasts just one day — a 24-hour culmination of the seemingly never-ending campaign season. But we’ll spend the next two, four, six years ...
What can you do to make the candidates first head-to-head battle as pleasant as possible? What is the secret to keep yourself smizing as you listen to the ...
If the chaotic party politics of the 2016 election have left you feeling completely birdbrained, this video is for you. The Founding Fathers (presented ...
The 2016 presidential election has been a captivating contest. If you feel like sometimes you can't look away, well, you're not alone. Even celebrities ...
In the social order of bonobos, females rule and develop cross-generational bonds to keep the males in check. A senior female takes charge, intervening ...
The first presidential debate is finally upon us. On Monday, our candidates for commander-in-chief will finally go head-to-head on issues that matter ...
1. World News: Puerto Rico has declared a state of emergency after suffering its largest power outage since 1980.The outage left 1.5 million Puerto ...
Update: Officer Betty Shelby, the policewoman who fatally shot Terence Crutcher last Friday, has been charged with first-degree manslaughter, NBC News ...
Step aside, old-school political merch. We're way past bumper stickers and buttons. With the election just months away, people across the country are ...
Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis: Hillary Clinton from Funny Or Die Will Tim Kaine be president for nine months if Hillary Clinton gets pregnant? ...
Goodbye, paperwork printouts and lines at the DMV. Hello, registering while in line for coffee. Starting today, you can register to vote over text ...
1. Here At Home: No charges will be filed against police in the shooting death of Korryn Gaines. Korryn Gaines, 23, was shot and killed on August 1 ...
It happened again. This week, two Black men went from living, breathing human beings to hashtags. And yet, despite all I hear about hashtag activism, I'm...