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Raqqa recovers and wants recognition

A plastic plate with pink flowers is floating in the small water basin underneath the trees on the northern bank of the Euphrates. On its rim small glasses of fresh tea are standing. Five broken plastic chairs around it. In one of the trees a yellow garden hose is wrapped around a branch. Tiny holes have been punched in it so a soft, lukewarm rain descends upon the tea drinkers. Welcome to the paradise of photographer Aboud Hamam.

He comes here every day. The shade and the vapour make the summer heat bearable. The city can’t be seen from here, but its people can. Cars and trucks pass the newly repaired bridge and boys jump from it into the strong current of the river. On the southern pebbled beach a few cars are parked. In the water close to the bank women float in their colourful clothes and boys and girls splash about in their underwear. The men are watching and smoking, in the water no higher than their knees.

For Dutch weekly groene Amsterdammer I made a big story about the reconstruction of Raqqa, the former ‘capital’ of the ISIS ‘caliphate’. I translated the story and put it on my Patreon page! No paywall, you can read the story for free here, but why don’t you become my Patron too?

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