Jenna Krajeski at Harper's Magazine:
One afternoon in early September, a crowd formed in the mall’s basement. “We are disrespected, all of us!” a man shouted, waving his arms. His audience shuddered. “I waited for three hours and all I got was this,” he said, holding up a bag of chocolate cookies and one of powered milk. “There’s no rice. When the rain starts, the basement will be full of water. They’ll throw us into the streets and kill us because of this,” he said, pointing to the cross around his neck. “Either you are Muslim, or you will die.” His voice cracked. “Our government treats us so badly. We don’t want them anymore. We want the European government. There are only 200,000 of us, Europe could take us.”
Among the IDPs on all floors the desire to leave Iraq was unmistakable. The project of securing a visa to America or Europe was a distraction from the empty days, one that replaced the jobs and social lives they had left at home in Nineveh. Many people clutched applications and new passports like trophies, which they displayed to each other or to visitors as proof of their determination. It was clear to them that Kurdistan, in spite of its autonomy, was very much a part of Iraq. They had themselves blurred the borders when they crossed them.