Thursday, October 02, 2008

Letter to Friends

Oct 1, 2008

Dear Friends,

As some of you know, i will be returning to the Middle East from Oct 18th- Nov 25th. i will be based in Jordan and will work with displaced Iraqi populations in both Jordan and Syria. i am hoping to do a documentary project, photographing families who have been displaced because of the violence in their country. As the economic crisis has widened in our country and presidential politics have become the daily staple of our news, we receive very little information about Iraq. The debate swirls around whether the surge has worked or not, and whether we can “win the war”. The candidates talk of American soldiers returning home with dignity, but there is no mention of the millions of Iraqi refugees forced from their homes and left destitute in camps throughout the Middle East. i hope to be a conduit for information so people may have a broader understanding of the results of our actions on the lives of the Iraqi people.

My friend Cathy, who has been working with the Iraqi people since before the invasion began, has been in Amman now for several months. Before she departed she asked friends, family, and supporters to raise money for the individual families she would visit in order to help them pay rent, buy food and basic necessities and in some small way, directly help the people she was involved with. Along with any contributions, she asked that they write a short note that she could deliver to the families so they would recognize the gift not as charity but an act of solidarity. i wish to continue this practice. It is my understanding that many refugee families have completely exhausted their finances. They are denied the opportunity to work by their host countries and have become increasing desperate to feed their families. Many are returning to Iraq not because the security situation has improved but because they have run out of options.

As always, i am also traveling on a very low budget. If you would be interested in supporting my work, that would also be graciously accepted.

Many of you have received similar requests from me in previous years, when our own economic situation may have seemed brighter. You have been generous in both words and action. Your gifts and prayers have been a huge support and allowed me to continue this work. I am grateful. In these difficult and uncertain times i hope this request can be viewed as an opportunity and not an imposition.

Thanks and peace, Johnny

Johnny Barber
PO Box 880043
Boca Raton, FL 33488-0043