For two years in Syria the conflict, which fractured Heshan's family, put a stop to celebrations, and this year in Domiz refugee camp in northern Iraq there isn't the money or the spirit to mark the occasion. "It's not a special day anymore. It just happens and no-one notices," his mother, Naslya, tells me. "There is no life in this tent."
Abdul said they had lost loved ones from three generations of their family, and showed us a framed picture of his late wife, daughter, son and four grandchildren - all casualties of this brutal war. I was almost speechless. What words of comfort can you offer to a bereaved elderly man like Abdul Karim breaking down with grief.
The concept of the diversity of a population seems obvious when we think about it. The diversity of our own society is well recognised by policy makers and service delivers alike, and the public debate recognises that men and women of different ages have different needs, and are affected by events and changes in society differently.
The five things you need to know on Wednesday 17 July 2013... 1) ARMS FOR DICTATORS From the Independent's splash: "The Government has issued...
There is a palpable fear across Lebanon. The country has seen war and knows what it looks like. Sectarian violence has increased in recent months, and as refugees keep arriving the expectation is that the number could double by Christmas. Lebanon's future is now intimately tied with Syria's, and a solution to the conflict in Syria must be found for the entire region.
Today is Malala Day. Her 16th birthday. Less than a year ago she became a victim of an attack on education, when she was shot and almost fatally wounded by armed men on her way back from school. Her bravery has shone a light on the scale of the educational crisis the world still faces, as well as the struggle for a future faced by children living in areas affected by conflict. The situation in Syria typifies this struggle.
"I want the world to feel us, to have compassion, to listen to these stories of our lives and our suffering. To know that no-one wants to leave their home. We were living a normal life - we had houses, jobs, shops, warehouses. Now we have lost everything, we have nothing. I just want the people outside to know that we were just like you."
The last thing we need is to import sectarianism into our country. Al-Arifi may have done us all a favour by coming to the UK since it has focussed on the need for better due diligence to be undertaken and to make us all wake up to the fact that whilst Syria may seem a long way away, its impacts can so easily affect our community relations in our small island.
In April this year Angelina Jolie and William Hague announced that the G8 nations had agreed a historic commitment to work together to stop rape and sexual violence in conflict... The UK has expended a great deal of diplomatic energy on this issue... The problem is that we found no evidence of any activities, determined or otherwise, to stop rape in Zaatari camp.