(1/3) I was six years old when the war broke out in Iraq, so my memories of events are very fragmented. I do remember being in an underground part of my grandparents’ house during what I now know were airstrikes.

For a six-year old, not knowing what was really happening, it was actually fun. It was nice to be able to stay up late, and to have everyone – my grandparents, my cousins, my uncles and aunties – all in the same room. Afterwards, my cousins and I would go outside and collect the empty bullet casings on the ground. Just like how other kids collect and play with marbles.

I think a child’s experience of war can be very different because they can’t really understand what’s going on.

But I was only there for about 9 months and I was sheltered from the consequences by my mum. For children who have been there for a longer period of time, eventually that naivety is crushed and they have to grow up really quickly to cope with what’s happening around them.

Arrived 2003

Photographer: Laura Matthew www.lauramatthew.photography

#Iraq #Australia #war #children