Stories written by Karlos Zurutuza

Sahrawi Women Take to the Streets

Ten women are gathered to discuss how to transmit Sahrawi culture and tradition to the younger generations. As usual, it´s a secret meeting. There is no other way in the capital of Western Sahara.

Q&A: Iranian Balochistan is a “Hunting Ground” – Nasser Boladai

Nasser Boladai is the spokesperson of the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran (CNFI), an umbrella movement aimed at expanding support for a secular, democratic and federal Iran. IPS spoke with him in Geneva, where he was invited to speak at a recent conference on Human Rights and Global Perspectives in his native Balochistan region.

Unseen and Unheard: Afghan Baloch People Speak Up

Balochistan, divided by the borders of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, is a vast swathe of land the size of France. It boasts enormous deposits of gas, gold and copper, untapped sources of oil and uranium, as well as a thousand kilometres of coastline near the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz.

Unseen and Unheard: Afghan Baloch People Speak Up

Balochistan, divided by the borders of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, is a vast swathe of land the size of France. It boasts enormous deposits of gas, gold and copper, untapped sources of oil and uranium, as well as a thousand kilometres of coastline near the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz.Despite the wealth under their sandals, the Baloch people inhabit the most underdeveloped regions of their respective countries; Afghanistan is no exception.

Pakistan’s “Other” Insurgents Face IS

The media tend to portray Balochistan as “troubled”, or “restive”, but it would be more accurate to say that there´s actually a war going on in this part of the world.

Europe Dream Swept Away in Tripoli

It's easy to spot Saani Bubakar in Tripoli´s old town: always dressed in the distinctive orange jumpsuit of the waste collectors, he pushes his cart through the narrow streets on a routine that has been his for the last three years of his life.

War Knocks on Door of Youth Centre in Zwara

It could be a squat house anywhere: music is playing non-stop and there is also a radio station and an art exhibition. However, weapons are also on display among the instruments, and most here wear camouflage uniform.

Fighting the Islamic State On the Air

There is daily news broadcasting at 9 in the evening and a live programme every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. For the time being, that is what Mosul´s only TV channel has to offer from its headquarters in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Disciples of John the Baptist also flee ISIS

"Going  back home? That would be suicide. The Islamists would cut our throats straight away," says Khalil Hafif Ismam. The fear of this Mandaean refugee sums up that of one of the oldest yet most decimated communities in Mesopotamia.

Growing Up Among the Dead

The walls of the Association for the Martyrs of Serekaniye are covered with the portraits of those fallen in combat in this northern Syrian town. Ali Khalil has buried everyone and each of them with the help of Diar, his 13-year-old son.

Democracy is “Radical” in Northern Syria

There was never anything particularly remarkable about this northern town of 25,000. However, today it has become the lab for one the most pioneering political experiments ever conducted in the entire Middle East region.

Living on a Ballpoint Pen in Kabul

Seventy-year-old Mohamad Arif still earns a living in the streets of Kabul. He prepares all kind of documents for those who cannot read or write – in other words, the majority of people in this country of 30.5 million people.

Against All the Odds: Maternity and Mortality in Afghanistan

Nasrin Mohamadi, a mother of four, has promised herself never to set foot in an Afghan public hospital again. After her first experience in a maternity ward, she has lost all faith in the state’s healthcare system.

For These Asylum Seekers, the Journey Ends Where it Began

"Of course I'm scared, but what else can I possibly do?" asks Ahmed, a middle-aged man seated on the carpeted floor of a hotel located on the southern edge of Afghanistan. He is bound for Iran, but he still has no idea when or how he’ll cross the border.

Afghan “Torn” Women Get Another Chance

"The smell of faeces and urine isolates them completely. Their husbands abandon them and they become stigmatised forever” – Dr Pashtoon Kohistani barely needs two lines to sum up the drama of those women affected by obstetric fistula.

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