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Andy Spyra and Sinan Antoon

Dwekh Nawsha: A Christian-Iraqi Militia

[The Dwekh Nawsha militia on the road to the front line in the Nineveh plain, north of Mosul, Iraq. It is the armed wing of the Assyrian Patriotic Party formed to protect Christian villages. It fights alongside Peshmerga forces against ISIS. As of November 2014, the militia had forty fighters, with about two hundred volunteers waiting to join. Photo by Andy Spyra.]

[Text by Sinan Antoon, photos by Andy Spyra from November 2014 and March 2015.] The fall of Mosul and other towns on the Nineveh plain in northern Iraq to ISIS this past summer was a monumental tragedy. It forced hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to flee their homes. Iraqi Christians, together with Yazidis and Shi‘a, and even Sunnis who opposed ISIS were priority targets. The number of Christian Mosulites was estimated at sixty thousand back in 2003. It was much higher in ...

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Safe Haven: Christians in Qaraqosh, Iraq

[A child is baptized in al Tahira church in Qaraqosh. Photo by Andy Spyra.]

Photographs taken in early 2012 by Andy Spyra. Text essay by Sinan Antoon. The plight of Christians in the Arab world attracts disproportionate attention in the “West” mostly to score political and “civilizational” points. Nevertheless, it is a serious problem that deserves genuine concern. An understanding of the genealogy and complexity of this plight is best sought beyond Islamophobia and other similarly reductive perspectives. Instead of narratives that imagine and ...

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Andy Spyra and Sinan Antoon


Andy Spyra is a freelance photographer currently based in Hagen, Germany. After working as a staff photographer for the local newspaper in his hometown he studied photography at the Fachhochschule Hannover. Since 2010 he has been working as a freelance photographer on assignments and personal long term projects in the Balkans and more recently in the Middle East.

Sinan Antoon is a poet, novelist and translator. His poems and essays (in Arabic) have appeared in as-Safir, al-Adab, al-Akhbar, Majallat al-Dirasat al-FilastiniyyaMasharef and (in English) in The Nation, Middle East Report, Al-Ahram Weekly, Banipal, Journal of Palestine Studies, The Massachusetts ReviewWorld Literature Today, Ploughshares, Washington Square Journal, and the New York Times.


He has published two collections of poetry; Mawshur Muballal bil-Hurub (Cairo, 2003) and Laylun Wahidun fi Kull al-Mudun (One Night in All Cities) (Beirut/Baghdad: Dar al-Jamal, 2010). His novels include I`jaam (2003), which has been translated into English as I`jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody (City Lights, 2006) as well as Norwegian, German, Portuegese, and Italian, Wahdaha Shajarat al-Rumman (The Pomegranate Alone) (Beirut: al-Mu'assassa al-`Arabiyya, 2010), forthcoming from Yale University Press in Spring 2013 as The Corpse Washer, and Ya Maryam (Beirut: Dar al-Jamal, 2012).

His translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s last prose book In the Presence of Absence, was published by Archipelago Books in 2011 and won the 2012 National Translation Award given by the American LIterary Translators Association (ALTA). His co-translation (with Peter Money) of a selection of Saadi Youssef's late poetry was published by Graywolf in November 2012.

Sinan is a member of the Editorial Review Board of the Arab Studies JournalHe is an associate professor at the Gallatin School, New York University and co-founder and co-editor of the cultural page of Jadaliyya.