One of Caifornia’s loveliest independent bookstores is The Great Overland Book Company, located in the Inner Sunset. Owner Beau Beausoleil not only runs the bookstore, but also runs the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition--a community of writers and artists that produce a collection of work to raise awareness about in support and commemoration of a major bombing on the street in Iraq in 2007.

Phil Pasquini

Hesham Alalusi, is an Iraqi American living in the Bay Area. He left Iraq in the 1980's and using his own funds  started the Alalusi Foundation. His foundation offers assistance to refugees trying to put their lives back together, like Ahmed Al Kubaisi, a young man who was shot in Fallujah and is now getting medical aide at a hospital here in the bay area.  Alalusi says that he's seen the difference that the organization has been able to make in refugee's lives but the devastation in his region is ongoing.

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq -- and even though the U.S. officially left the country in 2011, it's  still a country in turmoil. Just yesterday, a series of bombings claimed the lives of 16 people, just one slice of how difficult life can be there.  Millions of Iraqis have left -- many ending up in neighboring countries, or with the help of the U.N., getting refugee status in the U.S. or Europe. California is now home to the largest number of Iraqi refugees in the U.S.

Sebastian Walker cut his teeth as a reporter covering the war in Iraq. He worked as a stringer for Reuters and operated an English language newspaper with fellow young journalists. 

"It was something that was criticized by a lot of more established journalists saying that without the relative experience reporting from that kind of a situation you really shouldn't be there, that's not the kind of risk worth taking," he tells KALW's Ben Trefny.

Today on Your Call: The trial of Bradely Manning

Aug 1, 2013

Since 2001, about 2.5 million people have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, at least a third of them more than once. When they return, many veterans need long term physical and mental care. But they often don't get it.

For many of us, ten years can seem like a long time. Things that happened a decade ago feel far away. But for veterans of the Iraq war, and their families, ten years can feel like very little – because the damage wrought by that war is still right there with them.

Chris Hondros / Getty Images

Courtesy of

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. In the past decade, we have heard from people with varying perspectives on the war: politicians for and against it; anti-war activists; foreign governments; and the United Nations – and we’ve heard the stories of military veterans coming home.