"Peace Meals" is a tribute to all my host families who live, and perish, on the edges of the world It is my invitation to connect with the ordinary people trapped in mass violence of the last decade in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries.
Walls have become ubiquitous in Baghdad, a place where barricades keep militias from one another and hungry shoppers from the nearest kebab. As Iraqis struggle with sovereignty, the barriers are a constant reminder of the American military occupation.
The war is over for now in Sahar al-Jawari's Baghdad neighborhood, but life is still a struggle. An American soldier encourages her not to be pessimistic, but it's hard to look on the bright side while supporting a family by selling off your jewelry.
Sectarian violence has driven millions of Iraqis from their homes. Now that the violence has abated in one formerly upscale Baghdad neighborhood, residents are returning to find squatters who refuse to leave and a government and occupying army unwilling to kick them out.