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Story of Tiba -1

Poland (Iraq)

A letter from 13 year old Tiba Atheer Kallas, who wants freedom for her and her family, to the people of Europe.

I was born and raised in Iraq. Our world was filled with minutes of explosions, bombings, shots, and deaths of innocent children. We, the children of Iraq, are stripped of our rights by not been given a real, peaceful life. When we go out to play, our thoughts are filled with the paralysing fear that we will never again see our parents. In Iraq, explosions, particularly car bombings and those at school gates, have become an everyday reality. I was 8 years old when I finished my lessons and heard the sound of death. There was an explosion at the school gate. I saw the bodies of my friends; they were covered in blood. One boy was so mutilated I hardly recognised him. This sight never leaves me.

We always asked dad to take us as far away as possible, to leave Iraq because we wanted a normal life. He said that tomorrow would be better, that Iraq would get better. But that was far from reality.

Various political parties began to persecute my grandfather and uncles because they worked for American units. These forces took them away from me. They started persecuting my aunts because women are not safe in Iraq. I, with my siblings saw them burn my mother's hand with fire. We saw them torture our dad. We then decided to move to the industrial area of Baghdad. We lived in the fumes of exhaust gases. When the troops found us, I thought it was the end of my life. We began to say goodbye to each other; we lay on the ground, cuddled up against each other, to die one death so that neither of us had to wake up and suffer because of the death of the other.

We had to flee Iraq. I thought this journey was the only way to secure a safe life and a beautiful future. I thought about walking the city streets, about how I could breathe without fear. We have always heard about this beautiful place's children's rights in Europe, we decided to travel through Belarus. It was supposed to be an experience that would change our lives for the better. However, this experience, no matter how I try to express it, I cannot convey the horror that we felt.

Story of Tiba -1
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