Nature Middle East this week provides heartbreaking accounts of the impact of war upon Iraqi and Syrian children:
How fear has stolen the childhood of a generation
Across the Arab world many children are showing signs of severe psychological distress and support efforts are often futile in the face of continuing raging conflicts.
The toll of war on learning for a generation
The Syrian civil war is creating an uneducated generation — burdening social systems in countries of refuge, and forcing children into illegal labour.
Iraqi children endure a crippled healthcare system
Thirty years of conflict, sanctions and a mass exodus of medical professionals has severely compromised the health of Iraqi children. And there’s no respite on the horizon.
Once proud, Iraq’s schools reel from decades of setbacks
Schools in Iraq continue to struggle, limiting learning opportunities for the country’s youth. Educational indicators show a marked decline as wars, sanctions and sectarian strife have stripped Iraq’s education system of resources.
We have fine and talented artists in the Arab world but circumstances are not in their favour. We reside in a spiritual part of the world and the soil of our region breathes culture. Culture is ingrained in us. Old Damascus is an accumulation of culture and civilisation throughout the ages. How do you expect artists not to emerge from this land? Our artists are committed to their humanitarian causes and those of their countries. They are mirrors of their societies.
Razan Chatti, a set designer and scenographer, is cultivating young talent under the auspices of the Afak (Horizons) foundation, which she launched in 2011.
Through Afak, she organises traveling exhibitions for artists from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, whose works carry powerful humanitarian messages.