The War Against ISIS and the Children Left Behind

The Kobane Reconstruction Board is running a “sponsor an orphaned child in Kobane” project in Europe. As part of the process we ask the children to make drawings so that we can collect them and send them to the families in Europe who are sponsoring the children.

These pictures were made by 12 year old Lina who I’ve met several times. Lina has 2 brothers who were martyred in the fight against Daesh. One was caught, tortured and killed (beheaded on video) by Daesh. Although I know of Lina’s family situation, Lina has always come across as an extremely positive and happy child; so I was beyond shocked and disturbed when I saw these pictures. They served as a painful reminder that we can never assume the internal dialogues and thoughts, pain and suffering of others; especially our most vulnerable- the children. Kobane lacks any mental health support or service providers. We literally have no counselors, therapists, psychologists; we also lack the capacity, expertise and know how in relation to applying alternative methods of mental health and healing such as the use of dance, music, theater etc as a form of rehabilitation which would be more culturally fitting. Lina’s mother, so traumatized by her son’s deaths had refused to even send her back to school, until following much discussion and reassurances that nothing would happen to Lina on the way back and from school.

I just came back from visiting another orphaned group of children, 5 whose mother and father were murdered in front of them when Daesh attacked Kobane in June 25-26th 2015. Another little girl had lain in between the dead bodies of her family members and had as a result managed to escape notice. The stories of pain, horror and suffering are often repeated endlessly in front of these children by likewise traumatized family members and elders; while the necessary experts and knowledge is denied us by ongoing colonial violences, invisible blood stained hands across the borders, already responsible for the murders and unthinkable violences imposed on these innocent people.

Hawzhin Azeez

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