March 09, 2010
Imagine opening a letter thrown in your yard, a crumpled paper with one scrawled sentence: “Leave or die.” This was the threat many Iraqis read in a warning that changed everything. Often a single bullet was included, the flourish of killers who meant to carry out the death sentence. Over the next few hours, Iraqis packed up their lives, collected important documents, cash, pictures, children, and drove toward an open border. More than two million left the country and most have not returned. I have been documenting those stories for the past few years. Today is the launch of a book based on those interviews and experiences. The Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East is my effort to report on the exile community and this unprecedented displacement. I explain what it means for the future of Iraq. Here are some questions posed by my friend and blogger, Andrew Exum.