Iraq 27 Jun 2015 07:54
She walks slowly back from the distribution area carrying a box, paid for by UNHCR, handed to her by one of the many non-governmental organisations working to support the people in the camp. She is old and has seen changes come and go, uprisings and wars, successions of dictators and religious fanatics. Now she lives in a camp in the northern part of Iraq having fled the brutal civil in Syria. She is Kurdish, so she does not have a country to call her own. Her people are spread across four countries and have been at odds with the regimes in all – Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. She is old now but fears for her children and grandchildren. Life in the camp is peaceful, and she has been well received by the Kurds in Iraq. But not far off Islamic State or Daesh as they are referred to in Iraq are trying to set up their caliphate using methods that would have found applause in the Middle Ages. The Kurdish army, Peshmerga, supported by its Western allies is presently fighting to push back Daesh as part of the brutal war that has seen millions flee across the region since the Arab Spring descended on Syria in 2011. Syria’s descend into violence and despair came on the heels of two decades of war and unrest in Iraq followed by Daesh’s appearance leaving the region as unstable as ever. And at the core of it all she walks with her box under a blazing sun along an empty road in a refugee camp, the witness of 60-some years of turbulent history in a place that is as far as ever from peace. She is surrounded by 10,000 other refugees in the camp and not far from her camp is yet another camp with an equal number of people in it. They sit in the camps with little money and even less hope for the future. Waiting for the politics to sort itself out, so they can get on with their lives. But as things stand a future outside the camps look less than promising and may be decades away.