Monday, December 08, 2008

Bush's war, our refugees

This is a very interesting story about several Iraqi refugees who have moved into Michigan. Life is difficult for them now, but it was impossible for them to stay in Iraq. DP

Michigan expects more than 2,000 Iraqis this year; here are some of their stories

By Sandra Svoboda

Classmates Even Yaaqoub and Maryam Bkla know they're safe at Sterling Heights High School. That wasn't the case in their native Baghdad. Classes were canceled for Even when bombings were too close — he remembers hearing the explosions while in class. Maryam says everyone in Iraq knows someone who's been injured or killed in the violence that's followed the U.S. invasion. A cousin was shot several times but survived, losing an eye.

"It's all because of the war. We couldn't stay because they were kidnapping and killing people," she says.

Similar stories are told by the hundreds of Iraqis who've resettled in metro Detroit during the last two years as the United States finally opened to these refugees of the war in Iraq. Next year more are expected to join the largest community of Iraqis outside of Iraq. Hurried and dangerous departures, family separations and efforts to rebuild lives ... these are the stories that tug at heartstrings, for local Iraqis.

"It's so hard," says Tamara Dabish, an American-born Iraqi who works as a teacher's aide in Even and Maryam's English classes. Her eyes fill with tears as she listens to the teens. "That's what my parents came from. I feel really emotional about it."

Sister Beth Murphy, volunteer services coordinator at the Archdiocese of Detroit, says she sees a "collective grief" among Iraqi-Americans for their homeland and what it has suffered: war, dictatorship, more war and now another wave of displaced people.

"Iraqis, no matter how long they've been here, are still to some extent mourning what's happened in their homeland," she says. "I think all displaced persons do, but in this case it's really strong."
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

No comments: