2013-08-19

Zelfa Madhloum went to Iraq to find Iraqis returning to their country after having emigrated. What is more, it was her first visit to her country of origin. Against everyone's advice, she decided to follow her destiny in Iraq. She immerses herself in the new, shocking world, gets to know other people her age and meets her family for the first time.

Iraq has one of the highest migration rates in the world. People fled because of the Gulf Wars, Saddam Hoessein's executions, the last Iraq War or the present, explosive situation. The country has recently been plagued by terror and attacks. Sectarion violence is on the rise and has cost the lives of over 1000 people in recent months, which have been the bloodiest since 2007.

Despite the unsafe situation there are still Iraqis who are returning after having fled long ago. They come back out of love for their country, but then see that there is not much of it left. Historic sites have been destroyed and there are over 2 million widows. That is the price that Iraq pays. The reason for their return is predominantly to rebuild the country. They hope that the expertise that they have gained abroad over the years will allow them to make a difference in the country's reconstruction.

Zelfa Madhloum went to Iraq to find Iraqis returning to their country after having emigrated. What is more, it was her first visit to her country of origin. “No matter how Flemish I feel, I have always missed a piece of my identity. It was a piece of my heart that had been missing and that I had been looking for since I was born.” Against everyone's advice, she decided to follow her destiny in Iraq. She immerses herself in the new, shocking world, gets to know other people her age and meets her family for the first time.

Images: © Saad Ibraheem

Zelfa Madhloum

Zelfa Madhloum is an Iraqi born in Belgium. She studied journalism and accompanied journalist Pieter Stockmans to Lebanon for his project “tussen vrijheid en geluk” to interview Syrian refugees. In 2013 she first visited her country of origin about which she published the series 'Between Antwerp and Bagdad' in Gazet van Antwerpen. Her documentary about Iraq was broadcast on 31 August 2013 on Canvas.

Supported
A working grant of € 5.000 allocated on 29/04/2013.