Saturday, September 06, 2008


Iraqis are tossing over burning ember....

Saturday, August 30, 2008
Peace be upon you…
I know my writings are becoming less frequent and at wider intervals; perhaps because the pressures of the daily work are tiring me, all revolving around the Iraqi refugees here,
their problems and limitless suffering; going from the worries of illegal residency, looking for a job and an income for the head of the family, the fear of being pursued by the police because they have no permission to work unless they have a legal residency permit, thinking about going back to Iraq- the hesitancy, the fear; or requesting to be re-settled- worrying about the unknown future there for each family and their children; moving about to provide the daily needs: food, medicine, and the children's education; and facing psychological, social, and legal disturbances and problems shaking up the family members, going perhaps into repeated home violence problems, due to the bad psychological and social conditions, which would sometimes destroy the family establishment and lead to divorce.
When I go back home I prefer not to talk about what I saw and heard all day long. I switch my mobile phone to the silent mode so I don't have to answer calls, most of which are from Iraqis, of course.
But I would go in the evening and call them back, to hear what's new; I cannot close the doors in the face of whoever needs help. We have a proverb that says: That who wants to be a camel-tender (= Camel Shepard) should widen his front gate. Meaning- that who wants to help people should make his chest and heart wide…
By God my heart is tired because of what happened to us all, the worries of people add up to my personal worries, or rather… they make me forget my personal worries; because compared to the disasters I hear about, my own worries grow smaller, and disappear from my mind…
All the Iraqis are troubled, even those who have a legal residency permit and a good financial stock, but when you talk to them, you will discover how broken they are from inside; and like one of them said: like a glass sheet, if broken, will it ever be like it was before?
Impossible, of course…..
There are many organizations here that work for the Iraqis, but the setup of these organizations is usually made up of foreign or Jordanian workers, with high salaries and privileges… but as for the volunteer team; they are usually Iraqi men and women, most of whom carry university degrees but without a residency permit, so they work in rough and offending conditions in most cases, with low salaries which no Jordanian would agree to work for, because it is way below the minimum wage limit that the government and the Ministry of Labor had set here.
As for the organizations that distribute food rations or cash money; they grant the family but one choice; either food rations or 30 J.D. a month per person, ( that's less than $50), a sum of money which usually goes to cover the rent, water supply and electricity bills.
Well then, what shall they eat? Isn't there anyone in those "Humanitarian" organizations who would think with a bit of conscience? Wouldn't someone ask himself: well, we gave them a food ration, but how will they pay the rent? And if we gave them the rent, how will they manage the food?
Actually, my own experience with these organizations showed me they have no real humanitarian reflection; they only offer drops of meager aid that wouldn't help or suffice, they would publish pamphlets and print colorful posters on shiny paper that would perhaps cost more in the budget than they give to those poor families…. And the organizations here used to give medical aid in the past, but they closed their doors in the last few months; there is no financing, meaning- go to hell… and the organizations that used to help school children also stopped its financing of private schools students and turned them into the poor public Jordanian schools, which already suffer a lot of problems, the most important of them being the weakness of the infrastructure of these schools and their inability to take on new students. But the Iraqis are compelled to obey the instructions, or else their children would stay at home without education…
The school year started two weeks ago, for example, and the poor families started calling, complaining that they need school bags and uniforms for their children. I called the biggest organization here that attends to the issue of Iraqi's education, and the coordinator said: we will distribute the school aid in October… I said to her: well, you know that the schools start in August, couldn't you have arranged for the articles of aid; the notebooks, the bags and the uniforms to be ready by the start of the school semester? Is it logical for the student to wait for two months to get his bag and school uniform?
And of course, what would her answer be?
Cold and flat, as usual…
These are officials who receive high salaries and privileges because of the Iraqis and Iraq's calamity, while everything around them says… let the Iraqis go to hell…
This is the reality the Iraqi refugees live here…
Well then, how about those who live inside? Or those who went to what is called- re-settlement?
Those inside Iraq suffer the lack of security, stability, and lack of jobs, they suffer the crazy increase in prices, especially the fuels,…the lack of electric and clean water supply, while we live through this infernal summer. In Iraq, there is so much heat and so little electric power, and a lot of fear and anxiety about the present and the future…
What about the displaced inside Iraq?
Their conditions are very much the same as the refugees here, the only difference being that they do not have a problem with the residency, but they go through the same conditions and position; they have lost their houses, their jobs, their careers, their stability, and their children's schools, and came to live in a new environment, strange somehow to them…
I received a report from an American friend, issued by the United Nations about the conditions of the Iraqi displaced…
The percentage of the families who were displaced and lived in tents is somehow low (like 5%), then comes the percentage of those who live in state owned buildings, then higher percentages for those who live with relatives in the towns to which they moved, then, the highest percentage was for families which rented houses in the new towns they emigrated to, until they reach a percentage of more than (80%) of the total count…
Meaning- the Iraqi has to solve his problems by himself… he has to solve his problem with electricity by buying a generator or a supply line from the neighborhood's generator, solve his problem with water by drilling a well in the garden… his problem with displacement and sectarian violence, invented by the occupation, by taking his family into another city to rent a house and try to manage a living… or they might travel to a neighboring country and live as refugees, without a residency, without dignity, receiving insults wherever they turned their faces…..
or they might get a re-settlement; if the head of the family was a doctor, an engineer, or someone with a high degree, and then he must suffer and start from the zero point, because those countries do not acknowledge the past degree or experience, especially the European countries…
As for America; the Iraqi who knows English could get a small job with a salary less than $2000, and can still receive a food aid card from the Emigration Office… But if he had only a simple education limit and could not speak English, he would have to be a gas station worker or a super-market employee; sweeping the floor, cleaning, and should manage his affairs with that or any other minor job.
Is this the dream with a shiny future for the Iraqis after the fall of the dictatorial, fascist regime? That the Iraqis would go to work like servants in America? America that occupied their country, destroyed it, and scattered them apart? Instead of the Iraqis going back to reconstruct their country with their own hands; now, American soldiers and contractors go back to live by the wealth of Iraq, while the people of Iraq are deprived of their own country's wealth? Homeless, scattered around the different parts of earth, despised, degraded, exiled?
Where is the justice?
Those who are here suffer hunger, poverty, and lowliness, awaiting to be re-settled in a third country, knowing full well that it isn't the magical solution that will offer them happiness, security and stability, but they say- it is a better solution than remaining here under the terror of forced deportation and returning to Iraq…..
And what is the role of the dear Iraqi government?
The Prime Minister would usually go to visit the neighboring countries, asking them to return the Iraqis back to Iraq, asking them not to facilitate the Iraqi's residency and to push them back to Iraq, after all doors would be closed in their faces and they get to the stage of despair…..promising them $800 for each family that would return…..
Whenever I met a family in bad situations I ask them the same question: why don't you go back to Iraq? The reaction would be as if they were hit by a lightning bolt: what? Go back? Where to? We sold our houses, or, we were driven out of our houses and are afraid to go back. Where shall we live? How shall we live? We fear for our sons and daughters….
Usually, I just keep staring at their faces; I cannot blame them….
Well, what about the $800?
No one accepts it! They see it as a silly offer that isn't worth the risk…..
The over-all image says that all that happened and is still happening, is but an organized program to destroy the Iraq person's character; to destroy his self-confidence, by making him hungry, by degrading him, making him move around like a beggar at the doors of the organizations that call them selves- humanitarian, while they are as far as possible from humanity… and the program of impoverishing the Iraqis, reducing them to poverty inside and outside of Iraq, as most families' resources were exhausted because of the tight financial conditions, and depending on personal income to solve daily problems. This is a programmed crushing process for a whole nation… the Iraqis are like orphans around mean people's tables… as they throw to them the crumbs that wouldn't satisfy their hunger and needs…
At the same time, American military bases are being built on Iraqi lands, and long-term security agreements are being drafted, to tie the country by the ties of long-term colonialism, so that everything should be kept turning under the mercy of occupation.
America is living now the carnival of elections, voters, slogans, and fluttering flags, the candidates appear on screens with their wives and children, smiling happily, blabbering about promises to improve the economy or withdraw the armies from Iraq, for the happiness of the American people, of course, and not in mercy for the Iraqi people, whose blood is being spilled since five years.
And the Iraqis ask naively: where is our oil? Where is our national fortune? Where is freedom, democracy, transparency, and the young government that came on to save us from the dictator's injustice? Where is our dignity? Where are our human rights? Where is our future, and that of our children? Does anyone think about us? Does anyone feel sad about us, and wants to find basic solutions to stop violence, restore the country's stability, and get people back into their homes, to live safely and securely, like other people of world nations?
Why must the Iraqis alone pay the price of war merchant's greed? And why would the others remain silent?
Almost all the world is watching silently what is happening in Iraq…
And the devil might think sometimes that he won, but they say- that who laughs last, laughs a lot…
And we have nothing but to wait and be patient, until the devil is defeated.
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