Iraq’s Lost Generation

16th March 2008| Channel 4 Dispatches

In the past five years, more than four million Iraqis – 20 per cent of the entire population – have been driven from their homes as a result of the war and sectarian bloodshed. Two million have become exiles, living desperate lives across the border in Syria and Jordan. This edition of Dispatches investigates the biggest and most catastrophic refugee crisis in the Middle East since the Palestinian diaspora of 1948.

Iraq’s Lost Generation is the first film in the Happy Birthday Iraq season marking the fifth anniversary of the invasion – a series of penetrating programmes examining the devastating fall-out of the war for Iraq and the Middle East, America and Britain.

Award-winning journalist Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy travels to Syria and Jordan to investigate the plight of Iraqi refugees. These are the very people on whom the new, democratic Iraq was to be built – the professional middle classes – nearly half of whom now live as desperate refugees, driven out by the violence and civil breakdown.

Sharmeen meets former translators who worked for British and American troops and as a result have had to flee for their lives. Trapped in a foreign country, their glowing army recommendations appear apparently worthless as the countries they risked their lives to support have now turned their backs on them. The wife of a building contractor who worked for the US now says she misses Saddam – her teenage children want to return to Baghdad to fight the Americans.


Directed & Produced by Ed Robbins
Reporter: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Executive Producer: David Henshaw