Matthew Barber Luncheon

Monday’s lunchtime talk with Matthew Barber was very informative and engaging. A graduate student, Barber has already made a name for himself in his field, campaigning in Washington just a few weeks ago for politicians to make the issue of IS enslaving women a major priority in the White House and bureaucracy. Barber has spent the past few summers in Iraq himself, speaking firsthand with victims of IS’s enslavement and terrorizing tactics and collecting interviews and photos of affected peoples. His presentation was formed around these same pictures, which certainly made the facts he told us feel more real; seeing the people he spoke of instantly injected more emotion into his speech. He was very well-informed of the history of the rise of IS over the past few years, and his explanation of the Yazidi religion made me realize why exactly this ethnic group in particular is being persecuted by the Islamic State. Difference fuels conflict, and this is exactly the justification for IS’s treatment of the Yazidi people – its killing of the men and sexual enslavement of the women. It certainly seems that this issue is not covered well enough in major news networks, and so I felt privileged to be informed by an expert in the subject who has witnessed the conflict firsthand. The experience only makes me more aware of many people’s ignorance of the topic and the importance of informing greater audiences of the enslavement of women by IS in order to halt the progress of this horrific conflict.


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