But after the war, and after Saddam was gone, all our hopes were gone, too. There was total chaos all over the country, every government building was looted, including my school. Lots of people got killed and displaced, and the Iraqis somehow discovered that they are not one: They are Sunnis and Shiites. The violence started to rise and the life we were hoping for became a fantasy, a dream.
I had to find another job since my school was burned, so I
used my English skills to work with the media. Because
One of my colleagues was kidnapped from the office because
he was a Sunni and since I was a Sunni, too, I thought that I would be next on
the list. I decided to go work somewhere else, so I found another job with a
This was the worst moment of my life. I was trying to do something good for my country, to tell the truth to the world about what was really happening, to expose all the suffering and disasters happening in this new age of freedom. Instead of being honored for my work, I got a death threat.
Being threatened personally wasn't a big deal for me. I experienced five years of war and learned how to survive, and I also believe that Allah has protected me all this time and will not take me back to him in a random way; if it is meant for me to die, then it will be in a certain time and place. My main concern was my wife and kids. I could not allow their lives to be threatened, so I had to do something.
After receiving the threat, I moved my family to
But it happened. I arrived in the States in mid-May 2008,
and I was very welcomed by the people in
I had the idea to stay in the States since I'd already arrived.
But this meant that I had to apply for refugee status. This wasn't as easy as I
expected. After I left
So be it. I decided to apply for myself and then, and after my application is approved, I could ask to be reunited with my family. But the big surprise was that none of the immigration lawyers I met knew anything about this special visa program, and if I want to apply for refugee status, then I had to do it just like any other alien who has entered the States and wants to stay. If I wanted to make use of the special resettlement program, then I had to do it from outside the States. And this didn't make any sense.
The lawyer also told me that it will take me at least three to five months after filing my application to get a temporary working permit, and maybe another six to eight months before my application is approved. Then I can ask for a reunion with my family and that could take another year.
This meant that I could not work or make a living. I had already spent a year away from my family and, according to the lawyer, it would take me another year or two before I can get to see them again. My financial resources are limited and I will not last for long here considering that I'm supporting myself and my family, too.
So the best way for me to make a living and be with my family is to get back home, go back to the war zone, and live under continued threat.
But how long will it take before I am spotted again? How long will I have before I get killed? Either way, I risk being apart from my wife and kids--by living in the States away from them or by going back to Iraq and getting killed. At least this way, I will get to see them before I die.I have worked with a