Day 14 – Iraqi Kurdistan

Day 14 – Iraqi Kurdistan

October 20 th 2014

It has been two weeks now that I arrived in Iraq ! Life goes on, weather is changing, work remain to be the same, and helping refugees is still our main purpose of being here. Though this week it was a different kind of work we had to do as we had to make a fundraising for winter projects in the camps. That mean evening spent with fancy rich people, conference about the action of our organisation, and crossing fingers that companies or people would make a donation in order for us to buy supplies for the refugees. And so far it worked out pretty well, we have a budget for buying blankets and making food distributions in some camps.

Weather is changing a lot here, and quickly. When I arrived it was 35°c and very dry air, the last days there were daily thunderstorms and heavy rain. Luckily we have a roof over our heads, but this is unfortunatelly not the case for everyone in Kurdistan at the moment, and a lot of the tents from Khanki camp which we visited the other day, are now completely flooded… And the weather probably won’t evolve any better before a cupple of days at least. If I would be a believer I would make a pray for all those people, but I believe the only thing I can do today is to help in a more effective way by being present for those refugees that are now soaked wet.

Rise Foundation is moving its office and guest house to Ainkawa, the Christian area of Erbil, so this week we also had to make a half move out and hlf move in, as our contract for the current house ends at the end of the month. Work is on progress, but so far we’re all very happy and excited about the new house !

Heavy rain so, for sure not the best weather for riding a motorbike, but between two drops of water, I manage to visit some different areas and to ride around the city. It was only the 2nd time I was sitting on a bike, but after one day and with the good advices of Tom that also has one, I now manage with the gears, and it’s all good. A pure fun even ! I hope the rain will soon stop, first of all for all the refugees, but also because I would like to make a little trip in the mountains in the north of the country !

Today (monday 14th) we went to Gawilan camp (half way from Erbil to Mossul), met the manager and discussed about the most urgent needs for the refugees. Clothes ! As most of the people that fled from ISIS left with nothing else than the clothes they were wearing that day (and it was summer season), they are all suffering from cold at the moment, so we plan to make a clothing distribution next week.

In between two clouds, a little halo of sun on the other side of the desertic landscape. Behind the refugee camp, a hill, ten or fifteen kilometers from where my feet are touching the muddy ground, a hill that is run by the ennemies of Humanity. There, begins Islamic State territory. There, begins terror and destruction. And that single thought causes me cold sweat.

If you’re following the news at the moment, you have heard about Kobane, and the current situation… In Gawilan camp, it’s already 600 families that arrived last month from the martyr city of Syrian Kurdistan. And we are expecting the same amount of people to arrive within the next two weeks (in that single camp, and there are hundreds of camps in Kurdistan, so make your math).

About Kobane, if I only have one opinion about it, it is that Turkish government is making everything in order to hinder the Kurds, and this for a few reasons. First of all because YPG, the Kurdish fighters of Kobane are associated with PKK (the Kurdish fighters from Turkish side) and tboth are considered as terrorists organisation, by Turkey, but also by US and EU. Are you still following ? Erdogan (Turkish Islamo-conservative president) even said, « ISIS or PKK, for us it’s the same thing. »

Turkish army is all along the border with Kobane, with tanks and soldiers, watching the show going on. Dozens of journalists and reporters are daily reporting about the martyr of this city, and still no one is doing NOTHING. Geopolitics is not something easy, but when you understand the area, when you have notions about who’s with whom nor against whom, when everything is suppose to work out, but when nothing actually does, you feel just so useless and stupid being here, not being able to do nothing for them. Only watching stupidely this incredibly absurd situation.

Good point though, yesterday we were in Erbil and over our heads we heard and saw a massive plane which none of us reckon to be of any airline companies. To me it looked like one of those massive bomber plane from second world war which I have seen so many times in documentaries. This morning when we read the news we found out that this big plane actually was a US Army plane transporting weapons, ammos and supplies which were parachuted to the fighters of Kobane. Hopefully this will give them hope and help to hold the situation for a cupple of days, weeks more maybe …

We are not living on a pink and fancy cloud, that’s for sure. World is a piece of shit in some areas, and I can tell about it. But still I’m fine myself, I have a family and friends, I live in a country which has not been in war (on its territory at least) for over 70 years. I eat and drink whenever I need or want to, and I have a roof over my head tonight. But my stay over here teach me how difficult and complex some people’s life can evolve in just a few days. Optimism has alsways been my strenght, and I still have a shiny smile over my face today. I’m missing you all though 🙂


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