Sarah Glidden ‘The Waiting Room’: Iraqi refugees in Syria
Sarah Glidden has an astute and sensible grasp on the fragile politics of the Middle East. Her graphic novel ‘How to understand Israel in 60 days or less’ showed interest, empathy and humility to the more than ambivalent conflicts. Her short story ‘The Waiting Room“ deals with another sad matter.
The Iraqis in Syria that have fled the country during the war in 2003 are in limbo. Their whole lives are on hold and they spend each day, each week and each month waiting to return to their homeland or to start a new life elsewhere.
Sarah Glidden ‘The Waiting Room’
Glidden’s amazing graphic novel „How to understand Israel“ was part biographical, part incredibly well researched and tried to come to terms with the difficult conflicts in this country which Glidden visited during an Israeli Birthright trip that Americans can go on.
What made her approach so relatable was the lack of definite answers, the confusion and the openness to learn that these conflicts were everything but simple.
Since University interested in politics, Glidden didn’t hesitate when she was asked to do a comic on an issue in the Middle East. She immediately thought of the fate of the Iraqi refugees in Syria. Especially since this problem was heavily underreported, it seemed a great choice to put focus on.
The result is a journalistic piece put into warm colors. Glidden’s strength is her accuracy in penmanship, the warmth in her portrayal of the people and the combination of general facts and personal stories. Sarah starts with Maraj Ibrahim who collects food rations for the first time and goes from there to tell what led to Maraj’s situation and why so many educated Iraqi lead a life of poverty and without work in Syria.
Iraqi refugees live in limbo
More than 2 Million refugees are living in Syria, according to the official numbers. Refugees are not allowed to work in Syria, so waiting to return to Iraq or to be able to settle somewhere else takes its toll on the financial and social situation of the refugees. Some have been waiting for more than 6 years.
Glidden tells but does not take sides and therefore offers the reader to make up their own mind through statistics, facts and the personal anecdotes and opinions of her interview partners. „The Waiting Room“ is an impressive insight on an important issue.
Her story can be read in its entirety on her webpage.