Spanish Photojournalist Victoria Rovira has been staying in Kurdistan to express the stories of lives of Peshmargas and the refugees to people of Europe, in photos.
Victoria talks to PUKmedia about what is it that she does and why did she choose Kurdistan to do what she does.
Victoria has been a photojournalist for four years. She has visited many countries for work including Nepal, Kenya, Cuba, France, Egypt, Morocco and much more. “Every country I visited was to show the tragedies of that country and to display to the world, how people lives in those countries. Most of the places I visited, I was sent by the agency or newspaper I worked for at that time but there are countries that I attended at my own will,” she states.
Why is she in Kurdistan?
Victoria’s journey to Kurdistan first started in France. She was taking photographs in refugee camps in France when she met Kurdish refugees. “I asked them, ‘Why are you here?’ I found out that what made them leave there homes, was not only ISIS. It was much more complicated than that. That motivated me to come to Kurdistan to find out the answer myself.” It has been two months since Victoria is in Kurdistan and she is planning to stay until she finishes writing her story on Peshmargas.
She is here to witness the war
“Back in Spain I asked my agency that I wanted to go to Kurdistan and carry out my work from there. I wanted to witness the stories and capture them with my camera. At the time I knew nothing about Peshmargas, I knew about Daesh. But now I attest the passion the Peshmargas are fighting with to protect their people.”
People flee their country not only because of Daesh
“It is not that simple,” she says. “People flee their homeland because of the negative effects the war on ISIS has on their lives. They run away from poverty and hunger, they run away because of financial crisis and the lack of work. That is why I want people of Europe to understand them and not close their gates on refugees.”
A Project to raise awareness about Peshmarga
Victoria is working on a project to create a large library showing Peshmarga trainings and how fiercely they oppose Daesh on the frontline. “I want people to know that when booby-traps blow up; Peshmargas lose their arms and legs, they become handicapped for the rest of their lives.”
Kurds are brave and protective
“Every country’s people have different characteristics from people of other countries. But there is something different about the Kurds. They are strong-hearted, unafraid of the enemy. They are supportive with each other and with foreign. They are also on a high level of knowledge.”
Victoria has been to many places in Kurdistan. She had existence in some of the frontlines during battle, like frontlines in Kirkuk, Hamdaniya, Maryam Bag near Kirkuk. She has seen a lot of refugee camps in the area including Kobra camp and Salam Camp in Sayid Sadiq, and Ashti camp. “It also in my schedule to visit Mosul frontlines and also talk with the women rescued from Daesh,” she says.
Victoria says, that during this time that she is staying here, PUK and some of PUK journalists have been of her assistance and “I appreciate their help.”
Prepared by Meer and Kashan