Making the Middle East Real

Last night I went to a gathering at the library in Corvallis celebrating the success of a community-wide effort to adopt-a-minefield in Afghanistan. Several churches and community groups worked together to raise $28,000 for clearing landmines. There were two speakers that gave emotional talks about their personal experience with these devices. One woman lost her son to a landmine—he was clearing them in Iraq. Now she's trying to raise money to clear landmines in his name.

I found out today that around the same time just down the street at Oregon State University, Portland photographer Joel Preston Smith was talking about his photographic work in Iraq: Images of Iraq haunt photographer. You can see a gallery of his photos at his Picture Iraq gallery.