Iraq: A Story From Erbil


“You got to the hospital in tears, clutching your only daughter, unharmed, in your arms, and accompanying your only son, wounded but still alive. You sat in a corner, stunned, looking lost, dirty clothes, unshaven, with this small child wrapped around your neck. You couldn’t feel hunger or thirst anymore.

And then you burst into tears. You kept everything inside during the long journey from Mosul to Erbil. Your wife and your other three children died during the fighting, and the pain was killing you.

Days go by, the condition of your child improves and a call from a cousin lets you know that one of your daughters, that you lost sight of at the First Aid Post and that you believed to be dead, is alive! In that basement, where you took refuge for days after the battle, in the cold, without food or water and severely injured, you first saw your wife die and then your daughter slowly fading away.

You really thought she was dead. The phone call caught you off guard, and you came to tell me the news straight away. The girl lost a leg and she is suffering from burns. She’s in an IDP camp outside Mosul. You told me this in tears, and I cried with you. We started looking for her, calling a thousand friends, colleagues, journalists.

We found her, some colleagues took her to the nearest hospital, they put her on the ambulance and now she’s here. You hugged, you kissed, you cried, all four of you holding each other tight. And we cried and rejoiced with you.

How much pain and how much sadness, how much happiness and how much anger. I have seen war, I’ve seen for years the consequences of this madness. I will never understand it and there is nothing in this world that could ever justify it, nothing that could ever make me believe that this family is paying an acceptable price for these wars which are deemed “necessary” or “just”.

Millions of people are losing everything, hundreds won’t lose anything ever again, because they are dead.
War means accepting to be inhuman.”

Michela, medical coordinator of the Emergency Hospital in Erbil, Iraq

Emergency UK

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