The last time I visited Qaraqosh in 2016, a predominantly Christian city in northern Iraq, it was devoid of life. Iraqi forces and their allies, in their push to reclaim Mosul, had just liberated the city from ISIS fighters. All that remained was graffiti, rubble, and rotting food—everyone, the ISIS militia and the locals before them, had left in a hurry. You could feel what it was like to run for your life.
This past weekend, I again found myself in Qaraqosh while photographing Pope Francis on his historic tour of Iraq. Along the once-empty streets, multicolored balloons bobbed in the breeze. Buildings and walls glistened with fresh coats of white paint. Throngs of followers, waving Iraqi and Vatican flags, flocked