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Poetic Eyes [userpic]

April 8th, 2010 (12:16 pm)

I havent had time to be reflective,
I wish I did.

This semester has flown by
last night I went to a birthday party with the Iraqi refugee family that I mentor.
They invite me everywhere-- its sweet.

It's also draining.
They are beautiful people whose lives were destroyed by war.
i want to do so much for them through this advocacy program but there is only so much I can do. i listen. I listen to their stories time and time again but no one can repair the damage done. I help with english and college applicatons, I help them navigate medicaid and then heard this from the grandfather: I came to the US 3 months ago. The day after I met you (which was a week after I arrived in the US) I got sick. I went to the emergency room-- I had a heart attack and a hernia. They sent me home in a dangerous state because I had no insurance. I imagine that he hadn't signed up for medicaid yet. The man was wealthy and prosperous in his country, he wears and suit and is always proud. He lost his home and 2 cars in the war. His life savings is tied up in banks in Iraq. He showed me photos of his late wife. He says she died because of Bush. I ask if she was killed in the war. He said not from bombs but we couldnt get our medicines since the war. The war killed her he says.

They sung happy birthday in english and danced to a youtube song in arabic to celebrate the aunts birthday. she cried because her mother could not be there and had passed away. The kids screamed and played as if the world never stops. They know this without thinking... if only the adults didnt feel like time stands still. The time is stagnant because everything they knew and loved is gone.

Luckily when the bombs hit their cities in Iraq they didn't die but there neighbors did and everyone saw the streets lined with bodies of the innocent. The stores closed, businesses and shops closed, parks and community centers closed and life for those still living kinda stopped or stood still.

Here they say that bombs don't fall, but jobs don't come either. Here the culture is foreign and people stare and those in scarves. Here english is hard to learn and you have to pay for college. Here the food is quote "horrible" and spices we like are hard to find. Here we have greed cards but the government doesn't hear us. Here we pay taxes funding a war that destroyed our beloved country and our lives. I am learning english here but it takes time. I can not find a job to feed my wife and new baby.

one man said:
"I would rather have died in my home country then starve in the United States"

So now, with this knowledge what do we do? As americans as citizens of the world what do we do?
They said that given refugee status and greencards the government would help place them at jobs/ Refugees used to get 8 months of government assistance to get established in the US but now its just 4. They are not just immigrants but specially picked by the UN and US to be Refugees. We are failing the people whose country we destroyed.

after almost 6 months of haning out with them i have to step back and think.
How woud my life be different if war destroyed my beloved country?

Comments

Posted by: Jillian (evernevernow)
Posted at: April 13th, 2010 02:25 am (UTC)

This was a really good post Shay. I am touched by the stories of these courageous people. Its scary to think how life could be so different from one day to the next. At times you have to think of all of the millions of other people suffering right now, displaced from wars. This was a really nice reflective post that made me realize how important your efforts for peace are!

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