Help for Syrian refugees in the North of Iraq

by Sven Ramones/LKO,  2014/01/10

“Human dignity is inviolable.” Nobody would criticize or doubt the highest principle of Germany’s constitutional order. A principle to the duty of which not only the authorities admit, but also the general public. But what about the respect of this principle in times far away from democracy, in times of war, fear and violence?

32-year-old Sven Ramones from Traunstein is working as a coordinator in the North of Iraq, where humedica helps refugees of the Syrian civil war with relief items and he couldn’t avoid dealing with this topic:

“The continuing war in Syria is forcing millions of people to leave their country and to flee into the neighboring countries, to get shelter of the violence which seems to have no end. More than 200,000 Syrian Kurds fled into nearby North of Iraq, where they have been received by the helpful people living there.

Besides the basic medical aid in Lebanon, humedica has been present with another team in the town Sulaymaniyah in the North of Iraq, in order to enlarge their help to Syrian refugees. What you can find there and also in other parts of the country, is an image of these refugees, you wouldn’t have expected first.

Many of the Syrians who have fled, live in rented houses or flats and prefer the own roof over their head to the life in one of the many refugee camps. They are called urban refugees or scattered families because, unlike the refugees in the camps, they seem to participate in the daily life, as they are scattered all over the towns. However, their conditions of life are often poor and the little they own has been earned by hard work.

Faisal Yunis, a Syrian engineer who fled with his family of six from the Syrian capital Damascus to Sulaymaniyah, is repairing air-conditioners now, in order to be able to pay for the rent of the flat and for the daily basics.

“I want my family to have a good life. That we lead a life like we did at home in our own house. This is not possible in a camp”, is his answer to the question, if it wouldn’t be easier to live in a camp.

Like so many other refugees, the Syrians, too, flee from a life in fear and insecurity. It is the flight from a situation, in which the respect of every single human life has disappeared. In the troubles and the horror of the war, the people are in danger of losing the only thing left of what they have ever possessed: their dignity.

“The obligation is to himself that the human would keep the humanity in his own person.” This sentence by Immanuel Kant may be the outline of the directive of action, which not only refugees should commit themselves to. It often seems to be a mistaken idea of victim status:

People who are suddenly dependent on help are too quickly been classified as “helpless” – no longer able to help themselves. Their emergency situation seems to have taken, without further ado, their right of making demands concerning their living conditions. The question is, if this idea can be justified.

The consequence of this misunderstanding is the permanent danger that people who have fled and who had to leave behind their home country and all their belongings, may slide into dependences and immaturity through no fault of their own. They lose the possibility of looking after themselves and to decide about their lives themselves.

Being a refugee is already a synonym of leading a life full of deprivations. That is why a refugee should, at least, not lose the one thing: the dignity to command their own life.

So it is even more comprehensible that many Syrian – Kurdish refugees in the North of Iraq have decided, not to live in one of the many camps around the three big cities Dohuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, where they would always depend on the help of others.

The fathers or often also the family’s eldest sons look for work as craftsmen or day laborers, to be able to earn their family’s living themselves. Thus, they do not only create a kind of security, but above all something like a normal life. It is the attempt of every-day life, like the families have known it at home, but which has disappeared through war and flight.

What the urban refugees earn at their work, is mostly just enough to survive. That’s why they are especially grateful for any additional help. Neighbors come to help, friends, families or help organizations supply what is needed most urgently, but which is too expensive for the families.

So, in and around Sulaymaniyah, humedica also distributes different kinds of relief items for urban refugees in need. Thanks to the generous support of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in close cooperation with our local partner REACH, humedica supplies them with cooking sets, as well as so-called winter and hygiene kits, to equip their own households in order to pass the cold season well.

This is a support for those, who try to help themselves, despite the worst circumstances and against the background of an inhuman war. In the spirit of Immanuel Kant it is also their attempt to keep the humanity in their own person.”

Dear friends and sponsors, please continue supporting our commitment in Iraq with a directed donation and help those people to help themselves. So that even in dark times, the maxim of humanity may be preserved: The dignity of mankind. Thank you very much!

      humedica e.V.
      Reference "Syrian refugees "
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

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