We are not going to leave, this is our home and our land it belongs to us.

By Kasia Protz

They keep drinking their tea while the Turkish war planes are hovering in the sky above their heads." How often does this happen ? " I ask pointing to the sky.

"I don't know, it depends, sometimes six, sometimes seven days a week , it's now a part of our daily lives." Kak Kaninya Barchun village leader of Muruke (wearing blue shirt) says while continuing to sip his tea.

Kak Kaninya explaining their situation to our team member Latif. Photo by: Kasia Protz

I'm very surprised by his relaxed manner toward the war planes in the sky, which can drop bombs at his village, home or family at any given time, his calmness makes me and the rest of our team feel safe but  it also disturbs me. In what kind of the world are we living in, where an innocent family have to get accustomed  to constant threat of warplanes bombing their land or home at any given time ?

Kak Kaninya is one of the people who live in Muruke village, situated in the sub district of Dinarta, high in the mountains and bordering Turkey, Muruke has been bombed 7 times during the last two years by Turkey.

One of the villagers showing the team picture from the last bombing. Photo by: Kasia Protz

Before the bombing started there were 23 families living in Muruke, now only 9 are left. Many families left after June the 4th when the last bombing happened, very close to the village and at 10 in the morning it was especially traumatic and a frightening experience, some of the villagers had to run to the nearby forest to hide. It was pure luck that nobody was hurt as at this time of the day many people were outside of their homes.

Many houses were severely damaged and till this day are standing unrepaired as the government hasn't offered any financial aid. Windows of the houses had shattered due to the ground shaking. Most of them were fixed from villagers own money, but some can not afford that. They use cardboard to cover holes in the windows or use the rooms with damaged windows as storage spaces. They are worried about the cold when the winter comes.

One of many damaged houses in Muruke. Photo by: Kasia Protz

People of Muruke are worried about their animals and crops. During bombings often the grazing and planting fields are burned, some animals are starving due to the fields being burned down.

"Yes the damage of the buildings and our land is a big issue, but what we are really are worried about are our children. Our children are scared ! They wake up in the middle of the night from nightmares. They dream of bombs falling on them "

The trauma in Muruke is easily seen when looking at children, they are visibly scared and  look up into the sky when military planes pass by. Also in recent months a lot of villagers had been diagnosed with diabetes, doctors said it was due to stress.

"We are not going to leave, this is our home and our land it belongs to us. We just want to live in peace here " one of the villagers says.

Muruke located in Dinarte subdistrict of Akre in the Duhok province of Iraqi Kurdistan is one of many villages affected by the cross border bombing from Turkey in Iraqi Kurdistan, the problem is big and highly ignored.

However, when sitting with people of Muruke I can't keep myself from being absorbed by their strength and resilience, while they drink their tea, laugh with their children and talk to us about their struggle with a smile on their face. They certainly haven't lost their faith, hope and still believe in miracles.