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Anisah Kaseb, Iraq, “Violence has destroyed my family”

Mother of three Anisah Kaseb, 58, says the relentless violence in Iraq pushed her son to commit suicide and her daughter to attempt suicide twice.
(Afif Sarhan/IRIN)

Housekeeper and mother of three Anisah Kaseb, 58, says the relentless violence in Iraq has damaged her family psychologically: Her younger son committed suicide and her daughter now requires psychological help.

Widowed and dependent on her deceased husband’s pension, Kaseb tries to make some extra money by cooking for marriage parties or washing laundry at home. Her plight has worsened of late.

“My son Muhammad, who was only 28 years old, was desperate: He had no job for the past two years and couldn’t marry because we didn’t have enough money. He was out on the streets one day looking for a job when a car bomb exploded near him. The incident affected him badly and he committed suicide, leaving us a letter saying that he couldn’t bear life in Iraq any more and felt useless because he could not help his family economically.

“It was the most terrible day in my life. He killed himself on the day of his sister’s birthday on 14 May and since than my daughter Alia’a, 32, has tried to commit suicide twice, firstly by cutting her wrists and then by jumping in front of a car - which left her with a broken leg that required hours of surgery.

“The violence pushed my son to suicide, and sometimes I think that if Alia’a kills herself, I would rather die too. I don’t have any other person to live for as my eldest daughter, Juan, is married and lives in Syria with her husband.

“I thought many times of taking poison after my son died, and I prayed to God for hours to dispel these thoughts.

“My sister-in-law got desperate after my brother was killed in an explosion: She poisoned her two children and then herself, leaving a letter saying she wasn’t able to support them and that she would rather they all died together than see them killed like her husband.

“People in Iraq are living in constant fear of violence, unemployment, hunger and displacement. We are tired and many aren’t able to flee the country and, like my son, end their lives.”

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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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