It may not look much - a motley collection of bits and pieces, the bric-a-brac of daily life. But for a group of Iraqi exiles, they are their most prized possessions, each carrying a story of personal struggle, hardship and courage.
Fearful for their safety and unnerved by last weekend's attack on a high-ranking female official, Iraqi women activists are retreating from the public sphere and choosing to keep their work low-profile.
The United States Marine colonel supervising the reconstruction of this Shiite holy city's government indefinitely postponed the swearing in of its first-ever female judge after her appointment provoked a wave of resentment.
At a time when insecurity is on the rise in Baghdad, women and girls in Baghdad told Human Rights Watch that the insecurity and fear of sexual violence or abduction is keeping them in their homes, out of schools, away from work and looking for employment.
Just after the liberation of Basra, as I stared at my TV watching the British military commander appoint clerics to help to run Iraq’s second-largest city, I realised that there was something familiar about it all ...