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Kowsar is fifty years old. She has been living in Sulaymaniyah Psychiatric Hospital for ten years. Both her hands and part of her legs are burnt. Her self-immolation dates back to ten years ago. One day, she saw a Toyota pickup truck on the streets of Erbil was carrying barrels of oil. She immediately decided to pour some of that oil on herself and burn herself. She burned herself in the street in front of people. Her right hand does not move due to the burn, and her left arm also has difficulty moving and the fingers are sticking together. Prior to the incident, she had been living with one of her sisters. After the self-immolation she was transferred to a psychiatric hospital outside the city of Sulaymaniyah. She loves the hospital and says, “It’s particularly good here. I live in a big room with 16 people. We are all friends. They give us enough food here and we get full, and we do not go hungry and displaced on the streets.” Kowsar says she would like to find some oil and burn her neck and chest this time. She does not want to die of burns and always knows that this burning will cause her pain, but feels she has no choice and must burn herself again.
Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, Iraq