Fiora Garenzi

  • Sardar is from Sirwan, a small village in the south of Iraqi Kurdistan. Fourteen years ago, he married Enèz, who moved with him into his parents house. Five years later they moved into the house next door. His wife, Enèz is an Arab born in Baghdad where marriages between Kurds and Arabs were common a few decades ago. Today they are much rarer. Sardar and Enèz have three daughters, Sourour, Sarê and Sima, aged 13, 8 and 3 years old.

    One of Sardar's brothers lives in the house across the street with his wife and children. All the houses in this street are occupied by family members and several of his brothers and sisters live only a few minutes away by car.
    The doors of those different homes are always open, everyone spending their time in each other's homes.

    Sardar owns several phone stores, one in his village and one in the nearest big city, an hour away by car. Enèz takes care of the house and the children.

  • « I would like to go to Europe with my family. Two years ago my best friend left for England. At that time one of my brothers had problems and I didn't want to leave him so I didn't go, even though I wanted to. I think that life there would be easier; economically and as a human. My wife would feel freer, my daughters would have a future there. I often think about leaving but I will wait for the right moment. I have three daughters and I know that it is a dangerous journey.
    A few years ago one of my brothers tried to cross into Europe. The journey was extremely difficult, he left with a group of 25 people all from my village. When they arrived in Bulgaria they were kidnapped by a mafia group. They were held in a shed for five days. They were given almost no food or drink during this time and their belongings and phones were confiscated. My brother had two phones, they took one of them but he managed to keep the other one hidden, hanging on his ankle. After five days, he managed to send me a message, just telling me that he was terrified and that he needed help and gave his location. This was in the middle of the night, at two in the morning. I called all my contacts in Europe, they all said there was nothing they could do. I finally found a man who went to the hangar, he was only able to free 5 people out of the 25 prisoners. Some of them chose to stay because they didn't want to go back to Kurdistan, others let their place to those who were too scared. My contact took my brother and the other four people to Greece. He found a smuggler from our village to cross the sea to Turkey but the smuggler asked for 5000 dollars. Without this money he did not want to bring my brother back. I knew this man, he was from my village. I went in front of his house with a butcher's knife and took a picture. I sent it to him saying that if my brother was not home the next day, I would kill his wife and children. The next day my brother was still not back home so I sent the smuggler new pictures. A few hours later my brother wrote me a message to say that he had the papers of a man from Baghdad and that he was able to use them to get on a plane and he was coming home.
    Today, my brother just got married, he doesn't want to go to Europe anymore.
    I know the dangers and the risks well but I would still like to take my family there so they could have the hope of a better life. »