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The woman who washes the dead

The story of two women – a Palestinian Bedouin and a Syrian refugee – as one prepares the other for burial.

Lesbos, Greece – In the large one-room container in the quiet cemetery of Kato Tritos, a small town several kilometers from the capital of Lesbos, Warda Alkenawy prepares for the ritual body washing.

The 35-year-old Palestinian Bedouin from Herat, Israel, is a social worker and accidental washer of the dead who has been on the island since September 2015 – at the height of the mass influx of refugees.

Before her lie the bodies of Ghalia Abdi and her two young children, Zanaf and Walat. They were Kurds from Syria, and, like hundreds of thousands of others, were fleeing for their lives. Only their lives ended somewhere in the Aegean, between Turkey and Greece. Now they are here, on Warda’s wooden washing table.

Full story here.

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