A lot has happened since my last blog post.
The day after that post, I packed up and left the Malito Hotel, then headed towards the Time Centre (an NGO which I talked about before). On my way I talked to some people, including members of a fire station who kindly invited me for lunch and took many photos, then one of the firemen gave me a lift to the Time Centre where I left my baggage. Then the fireman kindly topped up my mobile as well, and then he took me to Salahadin University to make an appointment for that evening.
After that I spoke to some students there, and promised that if I stayed in town I would visit them again. Then I headed back to the Time Centre where I saw the person who had introduced me to Salahadin University in the first place and he was supposed to be coming with me to the appointment but told me he was going to be late, but that if I wanted to go myself it would be ok. I asked him and the head of Centre if I could stay there that night and they told me “Sorry we can’t help you with this,” so I thanked them and took all my things and headed out to find somewhere else to stay.
I tried to call all the NGOs I had details for and they all said they couldn’t help, so I ended up setting up my peace camp right in front of the regional government parliament. After about two hours I was stripped and searched thoroughly, and I was taken to a police station and then after some investigation I was released (it was about 10pm) and I was told I can’t camp and I have to go somewhere else outside the
capital. They said it was because it is near to the anniversary of an event similar to the Arab uprising, which happened here, and this meant they didn’t want to see me here in the Kurdish capital camping anywhere at all.
I managed to get in touch with my good friend from the Syrian Kurdish community and he told me “You are welcome to come and stay here overnight.” After getting there I met some more new people and we talked about what I should do next.
So, the next day I headed out towards Baghdad garage and there was a car there that was going towards Baghdad. We passed Kirkuk and about 20km beyond Kirkuk – after passing about 15 checkpoints – I was stopped and told again that it would be a better choice to go back and find an alternative route for my journey rather than going to Baghdad and then Jordan. And so, after taking some photos with all
the people there (and one Arab journalist and the people I was travelling with took photos of me too), I thanked them all, especially the car driver, and I said goodbye to them. They went on to Baghdad and I waited at the checkpoint for an opportunity to go back in the direction from which I had just come, because everyone is telling me this is what I must do.
After a while I got a chance to come back towards the border with Turkey (through Mousal). After a few hours there I really felt I was in a military zone and then luckily I got through to the Kurdish region again and then there I was at the border for almost a week and couldn’t go through to Turkey, because I was told my visa has run out.
Eventually I managed to get through north Iraq and ınto eastern Turkey but before that I had to go back to the provınce of Duhok and try to see the governor, so on the way I have managed to go and vısıt the Syrıan refugees at the Domız camp. They dıdn’t let me sleep over there but I managed to camp at a buıldıng sıte near to the refugee camp and the builders were from Syrıa as well, and they were quıte happy for me to stay wıth them for the nıght. The next day I went to the offıce of the governor ın Duhok but he wasn’t avaılable, so I managed to see hıs deputy and they helped me to sort out all the border problems. After that everyone was happy and helpful to me.
As soon as I got ınto the town of Cızre everyone over there was happy and helpful too and I hope that I can continue to western Turkey
safe and well.
I have gone through much more than I have written here but this is just an update to say that I am alive and I will still keep going on my peace mission.