Iceland: The Escape from Iraq to Akranes

Iceland: The Escape from Iraq to Akranes

Via Iceland Review:
“How is it to live in a tent in a refugee camp in 50°C?” This was the title of a symposium I attended at the University of Iceland earlier this week to celebrate the launch of the book Ríkisfang: Ekkert – Flóttin frá Írak á Akranes (“Nationality: None – The Escape from Iraq to Akranes”) by Sigríður Vídis Jónsdóttir.

The book tells the story of eight Palestinian women and their children who fled Iraq to be resettled in Akranes, a small fishing village in west Iceland.

At the symposium, Lína Mazar, one of these eight women, described life in the Al Waleed refugee camp. She spoke about the difficult conditions in the camp—the repressive heat, the lack of hygiene—and the hardship she and her children faced.

What do you do under such extreme weather conditions? What about when a sandstorm hits?

The women left everything they knew in Baghdad and found themselves in unfamiliar surroundings—a camp in the desert. Later they would do the same, only this time they left for Iceland.

“I didn’t speak Icelandic or English, and people in Iceland don’t speak Arabic,” Mazar said of one of her first hurdles in the new country. Three years later, Mazar speaks fine Icelandic.