A displaced person returns home
Karam had to flee from Islamic State's occupation of Mosul. Today he drives into the same Mosul as driver for Mission East. Meanwhile, he puts aside the anxiety and the bad memories. Of course, I have to help my neighbors, he says.
Karam was part of the team that ran into Mosul after the city had just been exposed to some of the worst bomb attacks, and parts of the city were still in the midst of active conflict. Along with four other Mission East employees, Karam provided relief packages to the hungry population after Islamic State was pushed out of town.
It was in the fall of 2016. Mission East was one of the first international relief organizations to bring in relief to Mosul when the liberation campaign started in October. In June 2017, the city was declared liberated.
The bones are popping out of the arm
Karam himself had to flee from Mosul when Islamic State (IS) attacked the city in August 2014. In panic, he packed his car and left the city with his family. But when he had not been able to close the car's back door on the go, one of his children fell out and broke his arm.
He managed to pick up the boy and flee, but the anxiety still lingers in him when driving for Mission East drives into Mosul.
“I feel the anxiety coming on - even though the city is safer than before. But I dismiss the anxiety and try to forget what I have experienced. Especially the memory of my boy lying on the ground with his bones sticking out of his arm. I put the memories aside because there are people in Mosul who are suffering and need my help, ”says Karam.
Caught between IS and American planes
He recalls his dramatic escape: “It was late afternoon and getting dark when I received the news that IS was taking over Mosul. I was a 45 minute drive from our home in the city center and rushed home to save my family. ” Karam's wife was pregnant with the couple's third child.
“When I got home, the neighbor told me that the terrorists had already occupied the western part of the city. I made a quick decision and brought my family and the most needed thing into the car and rushed out of town. ”
“We were approaching the outskirts of the city in a hurry when I discovered the Islamic State checkpoint and quickly turned the car around. Then I discovered that I hadn't been able to close the back door properly. My son got out of the car, landed on the ground and broke his arm. I rushed out and watched the blood flow as the bones stuck out. I got him up in the car and gasped. I was driving at high speed, completely frightened. Not only for Islamic State, but also because the car at high speed was now an attack target for the US bombers. My wife cried and prayed aloud to God. "
A broken arm for better and for worse
Fortunately, nothing happened and the family finally reached the Kurdish Pershmerga forces. Here, Karam explained his situation and showed them the boy who had been injured and they let the family through their checkpoint.
Karam then drove to Dohuk and had the boy admitted to the hospital where he was operated. The son still cannot stretch his arm, as before. And it pains Karam. At the same time, it was precisely the wounded boy who made their story credible, so Pershmerga let them into safe territory. After the escape, Karam had "big problems and messed up", as he says, without getting into the details. But he had to find something to live off of. So when he heard about the job in Mission East, he went for it
Of course I have to help my neighbors
Ten months after the flight - in June 2015 - he got a job as a driver for Mission East and now drives daily in and out of Mosul and longer distances as needed.
"Obviously, I have to help my own people," says Karam.
“I especially notice when I see the people of Mission East coming from many other countries to help. If they put everything aside to help us, then why shouldn't I? Of course, I have to go into Mosul and help my neighbors. "
Karam and his wife have since increased the family. In addition to their oldest daughter and son, they have also had a set of twin sons.