Weza village located near the Iranian border in Iraqi Kurdistan. Photo by: Peggy Gish.
“Is this the village of Weza?” I asked my teammate, not believing what I was seeing. This did not look like the same village our team visited in June 2010. Weza, nestled in the mountains of northeastern Iraqi Kurdistan and close to the Iranian border, looked bigger. Fields were larger and greener and the houses in better repair. Residents, we spoke to said that even though they know in the back of their mind that danger could return to their village, they feel more relaxed. Tourists are once again coming into the area for vacations, to enjoy the beautiful views and the milder summer temperatures.
Six years ago, in June 2010, we sat in this same village, with the uncle of fourteen-year-old Basoz, as he told us about his niece’s tragic death three weeks earlier. A rocket had exploded near Basoz while she was preparing tea for the rest of the family who were working in their fields. Her twenty-year-old cousin, with her at the time, was not physically injured, but was severely traumatized. The uncle, describing the situation there, told us, “Over the last ten days, more than 200 rockets have exploded around our village. People here are terrified, and many have left.”