What has just transpired in Iraqi Kurdistan is heartbreaking.
Here is a people who, for decades, have been fighting every form of tyranny that the terrible 20th century spawned in that part of the world.
Here is a small but great people who, in the very midst of the complex Middle East, embody an exceptional strain of enlightened Islam that is open to universal values, welcoming to minorities, and inclined toward secularity and democracy.
Here are men and women who, while the rest of the world gaped at the flood tide of the Islamic State as it rose in the summer of 2014, stood firm along a thousand-kilometer front where I had the privilege of filming them as they built a human rampart that spared the planet a worsening of the epidemic of deadly attacks that ISIS had unleashed.
Two years later, when the time came to finish off the Caliphate, it was these same battalions who engaged the front lines of the Islamic State—this, too, my crew and I filmed; it was these same Peshmerga fighters who escorted back to their villages the first Christians to return to the Plain of Nineveh; and it was these same brave fighters who forced open the gates of Mosul for the Iraqi army.
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