Out of the 300 million odd people living in the region, I understand my small sample of friends cannot be taken as a final representation of the Middle East. Nor do I want to gloss over the fact that thousands have been killed and millions have been made homeless. This we cannot forget and maybe, quite rightly, the media aren't letting us.
Kamal's story, and many others, makes it clear that the seizure of Mosul by the IS has manifested into a threat on human rights. This includes the right to practice whichever religion one chooses, should one choose to practice religion. Now, many hope that the new regime in Iraq will follow a path of statesmanship and pluralism, and not mindless sectarianism.
The Syria crisis may have fallen off the news agenda, but it hasn't gone away. Every month around 100,000 Syrians become refugees. Again and again I was told the humanitarian situation is extremely fragile and critically underfunded, but there was enormous praise for Jordan - not a rich country by Middle Eastern standards, yet it is showing great generosity towards the Syrian people. This is an international crisis on an epic scale. It's a matter of global responsibility - Jordan and the other countries neighbouring Syria should not be bearing the brunt of this alone.