Interviewing Iraqi men (refugees)
Aug 28

I continued interviewing Iraqi men.  The similarities in their story were remarkable:  threats to the life and safety of themselves and their families, flight to avoid violence, and the stress, deprivation, fear, and hopelessness of their situation in Jordan.

Mohaned Daood and family
Mohaned                Hussain                Rana                Sara                Ali

Mohaned is an artist.  Prior to the invasion he had a thriving gallery in the Green Zone in Baghdad.  He numbered many American Army personnel as his customers, and had an excellent relationship with them.

His primary medium was "tableaus," renderings such as these that follow

Life was good; life was stable, his family was secure and happy and the future looked bright.  

Then in 2004 the threats began.  He showed me one threatening letter that read, “In the name of the God, To Mohaned Daood, You must divorce your wife, because your wife is Sunni, and she is a bitch, and her father worked with Sadaam, and if you don’t divorce her, we’ll kill you.”  (His father-in-law worked in the Iraqi consulate in Germany.)

The militias of the Mahdi army took his gallery and killed his sister.

Mohaned suffers from ulcers, due to the stress, frustration, and hopelessness of his current situation.


Muayaed and family
Muayaed and his wife are homesick, they are sad, and they ask in their despair, “Why did America invade Iraq?”  Yet, when I asked him what he would like to tell the American people, he—like so many others—distinguished between the people and their government.  He repeated the familiar refrain, “I would like to go to America.”

In Iraq Muayaed had good engineering jobs, life was stable, and the future looked secure.  Then the threats started, the fear set in, the utter seclusion in the home for a few months, and finally the flight to Jordan

One of CRP's micro projects was to provide Muayaed with a key-copying machine, which he uses in the neighborhood to make some extra money.

Muayaed with wife Nidhal and daughter Shurouk
Shurouk                                                Basmala
Muayaed's children (the three on the right), with several of their friends


Muayaed says that he is treated well by his Jordanian neighbors, but that the children have suffered discrimination, and have even been hit by neighborhood kids, just for being Iraqi.


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