Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What a f funny situation!!!

An International Aid Worker since 2003, occupied several key positions in the humanitarian fields (programme management, coordination, consultancy...etc.), and implemented numerous projects with millions of dollars funded by UN agencies, IOM and other donors. Attending several meetings every week to discuss the situation of the vulnerable people, internally displaced people and refugees? Proposing how to how to assistant them and how to protect them. But this aid worker has no residency and no legal permission to stay or work in the country he is working. What makes the situation worse is that morally it was not possible to me to ask the UN and other agencies which I was working with or for to assist me personally.

What a funny situation…

To be continued

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Alice in Wonderland "Iraq"

Iraq is like wonderland for the humanitarian workers who are like Alice. 

First Scene:

One of the International NGOs funded a project for Iraqi refugees in one of the neighboring countries of Iraq. This project was implemented through a local partner. The project was to support the vulnerable Iraqi refugees who are living in this neighborhood but also to include some of the vulnerable families from the neighborhood (hosting vulnerable families from the  same neighborhood) with several activities. Mentioning that the number of Iraqis refugees in this country is over 500 000 persons. However, the project started and the international NGO was receiving timely well written reports. and everybody was happy. One day they decided to visit the location to "monitor the impact of the project on the Iraqis in this neighborhood". The discovered two things, first the project is working well and many families are having the access to the services, second they found that there are no Iraqis in this neighborhood!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"Who does not have Mental health problem in Iraq?" This should be the question...

Since the last month I am trying to collect information about the mental health situation in Iraq hoping that I will be able to find an adequate response and start doing something to assist in this regard. The idea was in my mind since while but it was always rejected with many obstacles the first was the lack of proper data on mental health. Now I think it’s the time for me to take a serious action on this and collect the data in one way or another.

However, while trying to collect information to justify the needs I faced one major problem; I don't know where to start from. When I write about mental health need and causes, I am writing about everything. What does not needs mental health services as a “need” in Iraq? In deed, it is impossible to justify there is NO need for mental health assistant rather than the other way around.
Iraqis normally have multi traumas instead of one. Who did not see a dead body in the street? who was not threatened, who was not mistreated by the military forces, who's house was not frisked by soldiers with horrible guns? who right was not violated, who did not lose a friend or a family member? Hearts became like stones, we continue our lives simply because we have no other options. Yes we are strong, strong human beings living under irresistible conditions. But we don't want this, we want to be normal human beings facing the normal daily life problems, problems that suits human being not mountains, problems that we can face.
Yes, the time has came to speak loudly and say; Iraq has serious gaps n mental health, Iraq needs help. We have battle taking place inside our brains, we have nightmares tracing us and destroying our only moments of rest, we have fears. We need help...we need help

N.B. Maybe the picture is not related to the topic...but I needed to feel the sun in front

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Even the lighter was mine"

In my last trip to Mosul, I met one of Internally Displaced Persons "IDPs". A man in his early fifties with a European face and light brown hair, the expression on his tired face and the way he smokes his cheep cigarette shows that he is passing though a hard time. It was easy to discover that he is Sunni from his name "Omar" and his broken Arabic dialect was referring that he is Turcoman. Omar is married a father of four children, the youngest is tow years old "I was lucky that the father decided to give up of his pride for a while letting me buy some sweets to the son". The family is originally from Telafar displaced to Mosul city living in a house with his relatives; one room separated into two parts with a curtain, the first part for the parents and the youngest son and the other part is for the three children. During our meeting, we had an interesting conversation together about his returning attempt story. The story per se was weird to me, but I said since we live in Iraq, everything is possible.

It happened that one week ago, the man with his family who were displaced due to the ongoing ethnic conflicts, decided to return home to Telafar. They were expelled from their home five months ago and they stayed in Mosul during that period.

Basically, driving from Mosul to Telafar takes fifty five minuets, but the trip of that family took six hours instead because of the checkpoints and barriers set up by the police and Iraqi army forces. “Checkpoints were even more than those in the military camps I used to serve as an officer for 6 years" the man said. Precisely, it took two hours from Mosul to their City and four hours just to arrive to their house inside the city. However, their arrival to their house did not put an end to their sufferings, yet they started to experience a new kind of hardship.

The irony was that when they arrived to home. The children where happy to see their garden stills green, "it seems that the neighbors took good care of it" the wife said, but they were shocked by seeing other people in their house. Their house was occupied by another family, there are new 11 persons in the house; a man with his wife, his 8 children and his mother in law. The new family was using all the furniture; the kitchen, TV, even their bedroom and clothes. Unsurprisingly, Omer asked those people what was happening and they started arguing, but at the end he found that both sides are in the same boat. It turned out that that family had no shelter after being threatened and expelled by a militant group and their house was taken by force. Moreover, the de facto was that "the recent displaced families started to take any empty house in other areas even if the areas are not safe because they can't afford to live in another city".

Thus, Omar and his family original family of the house stayed in their own house, not as landlords but as guests. They slept in their own guest's room and the other family prepared the dinner for them using their kitchen and the food storage they left behind when the left the house. In the evening, the heads of both families sat together and started talking about the situation in Telafar and how this City was a place where its people were united and integrated. They also talked about how families used to know each other and various tribes and ethnicities were leading a peaceful life. Then, Omar took a cigarette and offered another one to the other families head, the guest accepted the cigarette. Later, he picked up a lighter from his pocket to burn the cigarette, herein Omar observed one thing, which was the lighter; an old lighter works with kerosene called in Telafar "Fergusson", he realized that even the lighter was his! "It is very painful situation to find other people using your house, furniture…even your lighter, a gift from your mother, and then you have to accept that" Omar said.

The next morning Omar and his family decided to leave back to Mosul, while leaving; Omar asked the new family a last favor to put a side some of their furniture in one room and lock the door, but the new family said that sooner or later either the Multi National Forces MNF-I or the Iraqi Force IF will come to search the houses and they will break any locked door, so it is useless even to do that. The day after the family returned back to Mosul abandoning the idea of returning to their house again.

I just wanted here to provide a picture about the messy situation in Telafar "some says that Telafar is a smaller picture of Iraq"; it is really so painful to find another family in your house, using your furniture, even the lighter...and then to spent the night in your own house as a guest in the guest's room.

But indeed no one can blame the other because all are the same; the people have no more choices; moving from one empty house to another is a normal thing for those families who kept staying in Telafar. They used to look for a saver house with some stored food and maybe some more blankets or cigarettes and a lighter.