Every night, when Amira goes to bed in the crowded room that she shares with her five young children, she lies awake, frantically worrying about what the following day has in store for them. Will she be able to find food? Will the children be safe if they venture out, into streets where gunmen, bombs and bullets are a constant threat?
With Iraq it was a case of naivety, blind stupidity or a gamble that has been first gradually and now speedily evolving the wrong way thanks to a new player the Syrian war created called ISIS. It's an extremist pan Islamic war machine determined to create a Mid East wide caliphate. And it may force NATO back into this land...this time oil is at stake...the magic phrase for military action.
This week has seen a flurry of activity around an issue that for far too long has been forgotten, silenced or viewed as an inevitable consequence of war: sexual violence in conflict. All of this is extremely important - but in the rush to 'do something' about the horrific crimes being committed in Syria, Central African Republic, Nigeria, and other conflict zones, we should not forget some basic premises.
As someone who has an instinctive aversion to over-praising members of the military (indeed, as someone who cannot help but shudder inwardly every time 'our brave boys' are invoked), I was more than a little surprised that the commemoration of the D-Day landings, which took place last week, brought a tear to my eye.