12.29.2019 in Iraqi Kurdistan
Dusk falls over the Bajad Kandala displacement camp. 01.06.19
I’ve several days yet remaining in Kurdistan but the reality of me leaving to return to my comfortable life is starting to crystallize. Those who’ve allowed me into their lives—many of whom I now call friends— will remain here, their futures but a question mark. I’m buoyed by the strength and the resilience I’ve witnessed while simultaneously being saddened and infuriated by the injustice.
Can you imagine being confined for over four years to a place whose perimeter you could walk in less than 30 minutes?
A fenced enclosure, the Bajad Kandala displacement camp has limited entry and exit points ... so when this little lady opted to cut loose for a bit I could hardly blame her. As I watched her run off I found myself thinking how rarely I recognized the privilege of my own freedom.
In just the past week Iraq has shared with me much of its pain as well as much of its beauty. I’ve been welcomed into the lives of many and been witness to examples of hope and resilience by those who’ve suffered immensely. As I welcome in the new year (my first new year here ) I’m reminded that it’s a privilege to be a witness—I’m grateful for this life and wish for little more than to continue on this path. .
The best is yet to come, folks. Peace and love from Iraq 🇮🇶 ❤️ ✌️
Dusk falls following the Yazidi wedding of Amera and Samir outside the Bajad Kandala displacement camp in Iraqi Kurdistan. Several hundred from the Yazidi community turned out for an afternoon and evening of celebration — after which they returned to their tents. All are displaced Yazidis from Sinjar and have been living in the camp since the August 2014 ISIS siege that left thousands dead, thousands captured and that still today leaves tens of thousands unable to return to their homes.
khalid is 12 and fled syria 5 years ago, at the age of 7 with his mother, father and younger brother abdalazeez.
after spending one year in tripoli (lebanon) and 2 years in zahle he and his family are now living in what can best be described as a makeshift shed outside of beirut, lebanon. .
khalid was in kindergarten when his family fled; his studies have been disrupted by displacement but he shared that he wants to be an engineer when he grows up. .
when i asked him what he wished for his answer was first that he wanted a warm shower (there is no running water where they live) and that he just wished to return to syria, see his friends again and live in peace.