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EPOS Kurdish Chronicle - photodiary from KRG
   
 
 
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EPOS Kurdish Chronicle - photodiary from KRG

 
Tuesday, 18 November 2014 15:55
 
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by Roxane
EPOS Insights

 

LALISH - SHEIKHAN DISTRICT, NINIVEH PROVINCE

Galeh, my personal taxi driver when I travel here in Kurdistan, stopped at the check point down the valley of Lalish, but before he had the chance to say a word, a Peshmerga emerges from his box shouting joyfully "Kênê, Kênê!". For the Yazidi community I am Kênê, since Pir Sait, one of the priests of the Temple,  decided that the name "Roxane" was too difficult to pronounce.

On the wat to the village from the valley, you can see several UK AID tents used during the night by the Yazidi refugees from Sinjar planted on the ground. These tents are very thin, and they do not protect people when it rains. They seem to be useless in this mountainous region, where the weather gets colder day by day.

At the entrance of the holy village of Lalish, everyone is asked to take off their shoes to walk along the streets of the sacred area. I remove mine, and as I am going to the little building of the Peshmerga to leave my bags as I always do when I come here, Sheikh Hassan‚Äôs daughter ‚Äď an exponent of the royal family ‚Äď comes to me, hugs me and takes me to their home.

Every year in August, the Prince of the Yezidis puts the "administration" of the holy places of Lalish up for auction and this year Sheikh Hassan, whose family belongs to the Caste of Sheikhs and whose ¬†members are also known as Fakirs (Murids Caste), ¬†won the burden of stewardship of the Temple for 13 million dinars, ‚ā¨ 8,700.

After a warm welcome by everybody, I decide to go around. Lalish is a small village with stone buildings that are scattered on the slopes of the mountain and protect people from the sun.

There are several tents for the refugees provided by IOM, International Organisation for Migration, but most of the Yazidi refugee families are housed in one of the buildings in which  ceremonies like the the Jazhna Jamaye, the most significant Yazidi Festival takes place. It takes place every year between 6th and 12th October and brings together thousands of people from KRG and the whole world. Last year, the Feast was cancelled for safety reasons (link to the documentary directed by Emanuela Del Re, Chair of EPOS: The Denied Yazidi Festival, www.youtube.com/watch?v=08l8lR5zOqY), due to serious threats following terrorist attacks that had taken place in Iraqi Kurdistan in previous days. This year the the Jazhna Jamaye has also been cancelled because of the dramatic events that have affected the Yazidi community in Sinjar and in the surrounding area.

The entire site of Lalish houses 430 families, about 3,000 people. Their living conditions are difficult, especially for those who are living up in the hills. They must constantly go down to get water for cooking, bathing and laundry, and also to go to the shared bathrooms: this is a big challenge for elderly, disabled or sick people.

Some children are looking for wood to cook meals, because some families do not even have a stove to cook. In Lalish it is difficult to find something which can supply liquid fuel because trees are sacred, and it is strictly forbidden to cut them. It is possible to pick up little bundles of dead wood, but most of the times they are far from the main streets of the site. So, children are asked to go down the mountains and try to find as much wood as possible.

One of the main complains of the refugees is  lack of healthcare and  shortage of doctors. Many children, including infants, and the vast majority of the refugees, had had at least a week of deprivation in the sun, without water and food, when they were forced to run off to the mountains of Sinjar to avoid falling into the hands of the jihadists of the Islamic State. At the beginning of the exodus, some doctors came four or five times in Lalish to provide first aid, but since then nobody has visited the refugees in Lalish.

There is  a small pharmacy, but it is not well supplied with pills and medical staff, and it does not offer treatment for long-term conditions such as diabetes. Every two months the government provides the basic medical needs, but it is not enough. Some local associations involved in health and assistance furnish some sorts of drugs but the problem is always the same: they are few considering the number of people who are in need of aid. Three qualified pharmacists have shifts every day in Lalish to give basic consultations to nearly 200 daily patients, and they try to do their best to assist sick people. They even give stitches if necessary, but are "obliged" to send the refugees to the hospital in  the town of Sheikhan when the patients state of health  is delicate and particularly complicated. By the way, most of the refugees do not have the financial means to seek medical treatment outside, and as soon as winter is here, it will exacerbate the situation.

Under a makeshift shelter near the pharmacy there is a family from Zakho that arrived in Lalish a few days ago. The mother cries looking at her child. The little boy spent several days in the mountains of Sinjar when they fled their village: he became seriously ill after suffering a blazing sun, without shelter and water. The doctors who visited him in Zakho could no longer take care of him, and his parents do not have the possibility to go elsewhere. Despite the solidarity of social networks in giving me contacts of NGOs that would have been able to cure him, unfortunately I found out about his death a few days later...

 

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LALESH - SHEIKHAN DISTRICT, NINIVEH PROVINCE

Galeh, mon chauffeur de taxi attitr√© que je retrouve √† chaque voyage, s‚Äôarr√™te au contr√īle en bas de la vall√©e de Lalesh, mais avant qu‚Äôil ait eu le temps de dire le moindre mot, un peshmerga surgit de sa gu√©rite en hurlant des "K√™n√™, K√™n√™!" joyeux. Ici, je suis K√™n√™, depuis que Pir Sait, l‚Äôun des pr√™tres du Temple, a d√©cid√© que Roxane √©tait trop difficile √† prononcer.

En montant vers le village, il y a des tentes UK AID plantées à même le sol. Elles servent d’abri la nuit à des réfugiés du Sinjar, mais s’avèreront un rempart bien fragile et dérisoire quand les pluies vont arriver, comme c’est pratiquement toujours le cas après la mi-octobre dans cette région montagneuse.

Au d√©but du village sacr√©, tout le monde enl√®ve ses chaussures pour parcourir ses ruelles. J‚Äôenl√®ve les miennes et me dirige vers la cabane des peshmergas pour leur confier mes sacs comme je le fais toujours ici, mais ils me sont tous brusquement enlev√©s et s‚Äôen vont en direction de la maison o√Ļ vivent les Fakirs responsables de l‚Äôintendance du site. Les filles de Sheikh Hassan (une branche de la famille princi√®re) me tombent dans les bras et m‚Äôentra√ģnent √† leur suite.

Chaque ann√©e au mois d‚Äôao√Ľt, le prince des Y√©zidis met aux ench√®res les places sacr√©es de Lalesh, et cette ann√©e, c‚Äôest Sheikh Hassan, dont la famille fait partie de la caste des Sheikhs mais dont les membres sont √©galement connus comme Fakirs (caste des Murids), qui a remport√© la charge de l‚Äôintendance du Temple pour 13.000.000 de dinars, soit un peu plus de 8.700 ‚ā¨.

Après de chaleureuses retrouvailles, je pars faire un tour du site. Lalesh est un petit village dont les constructions en pierres, destinées à protéger des ardeurs du soleil, sont disséminées sur les flancs de la montagne.

Il y a des tentes IOM OIM (Organisation Internationale pour les Migrations) également plantées à même le sol, mais la plupart des familles de réfugiés occupent l’une des constructions qui servent l’été aux Yézidis de la région, et lors des grandes cérémonies, notamment celle d’automne qui a toujours lieu entre le 6 et le 12 octobre et qui rassemble des milliers de personnes. Elle n’a malheureusement pas eu lieu l’année dernière pour des raisons de sécurité (lien au documentaire de Emanuela Del Re, Présidente de EPOS: The Denied Festival, www.youtube.com/watch?v=08l8lR5zOqY) un attentat ayant fait plusieurs morts à Erbil, la capitale du Kurdistan, et elle est évidemment également annulée cette année à cause des dramatiques événements qui ont touché la communauté dans le Sinjar.

L‚Äôensemble du site abriterait 430 familles, soit environ 3.000 personnes. Leurs conditions de vie sont difficiles, notamment pour ceux qui ont √©lu domicile sur les hauteurs. Ils doivent constamment descendre pour s‚Äôapprovisionner en eau pour la cuisine, la toilette et la lessive, et √©galement pour acc√©der aux sanitaires communs, ce qui est √©prouvant pour les personnes √Ęg√©es, handicap√©es ou malades.

Des enfants partent à la recherche de bois pour faire cuire les repas, certaines familles ne disposant même pas d’un réchaud pour cuisiner. L’approvisionnement en combustible est délicat à Lalesh, les arbres sont sacrés, il estdonc interdit de les couper, et il faut faire beaucoup de chemin pour réunir un petit fagot de bois mort.

L‚Äôun des principaux probl√®mes dont se plaignent r√©guli√®rement les r√©fugi√©s est l‚Äôabsence de m√©decin. Les enfants sont nombreux, y compris les nourrissons, et la grande majorit√© a subi au moins une semaine de privations en plein soleil, sans eau et sans nourriture, quand la fuite en toute h√Ęte dans les montagnes de Sinjar √©tait la seule chance de salut pour ne pas tomber entre les mains des djihadistes de l‚ÄôEtat islamique. Des m√©decins sont venus quatre ou cinq fois au d√©but de l‚Äôexode, mais plus personne ne suivrait actuellement les r√©fugi√©s de Lalesh.

Il y a bien une petite pharmacie, mais elle ne dispose de m√©dicaments qu‚Äôen nombre nettement insuffisant et ne propose pas de traitement pour les affections de longue dur√©e comme le diab√®te. L‚Äôapprovisionnement est assur√© tous les deux mois par le gouvernement, mais les livraisons sont trop limit√©es pour satisfaire les nombreux besoins, m√™me si quelques associations locales am√®nent parfois des m√©dicaments. Trois pharmaciens dipl√īm√©s se relaient pour assurer des consultations de base √† pr√®s de 200 patients par jour, et soignent gratuitement les petits bobos quotidiens. Ils posent m√™me des points de suture si cela s‚Äôav√®re n√©cessaire, mais doivent demander aux r√©fugi√©s d‚Äôaller √† l‚Äôh√īpital de Sheikhan ou chez un m√©decin en ville pour la d√©livrance d‚Äôune ordonnance pour les maladies qui d√©passent leurs comp√©tences. La plupart d‚Äôentre eux n‚Äôa pas les moyens financiers de se faire soigner √† l‚Äôext√©rieur, et l‚Äôhiver qui sera l√† bient√īt va encore aggraver la situation.

Sous un abri proche de la pharmacie, une famille réfugiée à Zakho est venue passer quelques jours à Lalesh. La mère pleure en regardant son enfant. Il a passé plusieurs jours dans les montagnes du Sinjar quand ils ont fui leur village, et est gravement malade après avoir subi un soleil écrasant, sans abri et sans eau. Le médecin que ses parents ont consulté à Zakho n'a pas pu le soigner, et ils n'ont pas les moyens d'aller en voir un autre. Malgré l’élan de solidarité des réseaux sociaux pour m’indiquer des contacts d’ONG qui pourraient lui venir en aide, j’apprendrai malheureusement sa mort quelques jours plus tard…



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

¬© Copyright 2013 ‚Äď 2014 photos by Roxane/EPOS ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† All rights reserved

Last modified on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 16:50
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