By Marta Bellingreri for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
“Do you think you will come back soon to your city?” asked Ronza, a Yazidi woman working for Radio Salam (Peace Radio), to a woman from Qaraqosh.
“Inshallah [God willing]. Why not return after our houses are rehabilitated? I have two houses burned [by the Islamic State (IS)] but when they are rebuilt, I will return,” the woman replied during the radio interview, on the day of the inauguration of reconstruction works in the Assyrian Christian-majority city.
Radio Salam’s microphones follow refugees and those in displaced camps as well as recently liberated cities in all northern Iraq, inside and outside the autonomous Kurdistan region. They deal with personal and collective stories and news, listening to people’s traumas and how the dislocated now are finally celebrating the return to their cities. Some 3.1 million people have been displaced by the conflict in Iraq since the beginning of 2014. Around half are in Kurdistan, which also received Syrian refugees.
Ronza, a former teacher, covers issues related to Yazidi communities for Radio Salam and also has personal experience as a displaced person from the town of Bashiqa, a few kilometers from Mosul.
“The most important and hard work I did for the radio was the [segment] telling about the period from Aug. 3, 2014, the day when IS entered Sinjar, until 2016,” Ronza told Al-Monitor. “It was a special report: visiting families, inviting people to the radio station as guests and holding interviews.”