Jennifer Utz (www.jennyjo.com) is a videojournalist who has been covering the Iraqi refugee crisis since the fall of 2006. She was one of the first US-based journalists to highlight the extent of the crisis. Her first report aired on Democracy Now in February 2007. Subsequent reports aired on ABC World News Tonight, France 24, and Current TV.
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When people are forced to flee their homes on short notice, how do they decide what to bring along?

In the West, we might consider what we would take with us in the event of a fire.

In Iraq, most refugees have been forced to flee after receiving letters on their doorsteps from militia groups that command them to leave their homes or die. Many of these letters contain bullets, or worse.

After they leave, their houses are often taken over by militias or looted of their contents. What they bring with them may be all that remains of a former life.

These are the artifacts of flight.

The Hrmiz Younan's
are a Christian family that left Kirkuk, Iraq seven months ago after years of persecution based on their religion. They currently live in Beirut, Lebanon. All they brought with them was a handfull of photo albums in a plastic bag.