Thursday, July 24, 2008

July 22, 2008 Interviews with Iraqi Refugees

Randa shows her UNHCR registration certificate in her apartment in Al Hussein, Amman, Jordan

Randas son looks out the window from his home in Al Hussein, Amman, Jordan. traumatized by the war in Iraq, this 5 year old boy will not go out of his home alone. He also suffers from constipation because he will not -go to the toilet.

Today I met up with Artry a 20-year-old Armenia refugee who has been in Amman for 5 years waiting to immigrate. She wants desperately to go to California and go shopping. She wants to be a teenager a real teenager, free to shop, to go to Starbucks, and most importantly to fully recover from cerebral palsy, which is a congenital birth defect. Artry is amazing, she is strong, and has learned excellent English. She has offered to be my interpreter. at

The first family we visited was Randa Haumis Paulus a Chalaean Christian who worked for CARITAS in Baghdad. “During the war we would go to victims of bombing, terror and try to stop the bleeding on the site, to prepare them for the ambulances,” says Randa of her service work. “I also visited victims, we gave money to Christian, Muslim it didn’t matter the organization we helped everyone. Then we started getting death threats for working for an international organization. I still don’t understand, we helped Muslims, everyone, why did they want to kill us for helping people? In our apartment building the Music store was bombed, there were rockets flying across the sky. The areas were so unsafe.” She went on to say, “we were rich, we had enough money, now it’s all gone, we spent it all coming here.”

Randa is married and has a 6-year-old son. “My son is traumatized from the war and suffers from severe constipation because he will not go to the toilet. He will not go out of the house without his me,” says Randa of her sons condition. “As far as government schools go, I will not send my son, I know that the Iraqi kids are called names, beaten up and this would only traumatize my son more.” Randa began crying when as she went on to say, “my son wants to play, he wants toys, he cries because he wants to have a normal life, he just wants to be a kid.”

The day we visited Randa had just received a refrigerator from a family who was able to immigrate. A few days ago he got a cupboard to put her clothes in and a bike for her son. The Iraqi refugees who do migrate give away their meager possessions to those left behind.

Randas family is also registered with the UNHCR but have no residency or guest visa. Randa is terrified because she works as a waitress in a club that caters to marriages. She earns 5JD a day and works from 4pm to 1am. She complains that the customers treat her badly, call her bitch and are very rude. She is tired and desperate and finds it difficult to sleep due to the stress and worry she faces everyday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great pictures and articles...real eye opener. Look forward to updates.