Tommy Hansen Photography

Northern Iraq's most important asset


The story behind

Northern Iraq's most important asset

Mosul/Erbil, Iraq Januari 2017
Refugee camps Khazer and Hasan Shami


Although the picture painted is often bleak and there is a pessimistic air in Northern Iraq right now, there is also a lot of joy, and that asset should not be underestimated. Joy is probably Northern Iraq’s greatest asset now. This is really evident in the large refugee camps.


Tiny little moments of joy are so important in these camps. A ball, a flying kite, playing with an empty washing-up bottle and a jump rope is the best pain relief for those who have experienced too much too early in life.


When the jump rope swishes and when the ball is in the air there is absolutely no thought anywhere about anything else. Then there is joy in its concentrated form, then there are no dark memories and no demons, then there is no then and no later, no before and no after.


People fall in love in refugee camps, they get married behind barbed wire and fences and new people are born there.


Joy is Northern Iraq's greatest and most necessary asset, in particular the access to joy for the generation which will take over when the current generation is finished with its mistakes and missteps.