This is my story of being a refugee, the difficulties of leaving my country, why my family was selected, the process of my journey, and the good aspects of coming and moving to America. Plus I will be sharing a special video at the end of this mytake for you guys and gals.
1. How we got chosen
Before you judge my father, he was always a hard working man and a loving person even when he was an early teen and late teen he helped his mother a lot by picking up groceries and even working as a kid. Its not like how it is over here in America even a little kid over there could work some jobs such as businesses and basically anything that didn't require a college degree.
My dad took an extra job as a really young teen selling food and fixing radios, fans, and other things because his family was struggling, he would also pay for the food most of the time not to mention this was even harder growing up with 8 siblings. His father when he was 5 was falsely accused by the gov then finally let out after 10 years when they found out he was innocent when he came out he died from a heart attack and lost his father in his late teens so he started working again to help out his mom.
Then in his mid 20's he was forced to join the military a "selective service" this was when Saddam came into power. Then in his early 30's he became a general, he would help some of the innocent Kurd's who got captured by Saddam's army just to get tortured or killed or both escape by pretending like he knew them and would help bail them out my dad was a Kurd, but he could do this sometimes cause he was a general for "Saddam's army" cause he was forced to join. So any government job especially military at that time helped increase your chances of being saved and being reconciled as a refugee.
2. Why we got chosen
Getting chosen was still by luck since not every government worker at that time got selected or assisted rather to flee the country in the 1990's during the Iraq gulf war. There were also many other Iraqis and Kurd's in the military that did not get chosen.The Arabs wanted no part of Saddam's regime especially the Kurdish people they were caught in the middle.
This especially became global when one of Saddam's cousins ordered a chemical gas attack against the Kurd's which he did on March 16th 1988 in a Kurdish city called Halabja just of northern Iraq killing more than 5,000 it was documented as the largest chemical gas genocide ever recorded in history. There were some American spies who would report back to the American government as well. The Red Cross came over to help refugees cross to the Turkish border cause at that time there was no Iraqi Airport.
3. The process of coming to America
Then the Red cross send us a bus by 1996 we had left our country, the Turks drove us to a city in Iraq called Zakho. We stayed there for 2 days then they drove us to a Turkish camp we slept in a tent and stayed there for 2 days as well. Afterwards we crossed a bridge to which another bus took us to a city called Seyhan which took 10 hours to get to and stayed in a hotel called Antana for a day.
Next We walked to the Turkish airport to which we were taken to Guam and stayed there for 3 months we stayed in a double connected house with other refugees, then we took a boat to Hawaii. Finally from there we took the Hawaii airport to which we arrived at San Francisco and stayed at a hotel for a day then we flew to the Harrisburg airport and from there a missionary worker drove us with his bus to a missionary house in Cumberland Pennsylvania. It was snowy the very first day we arrived there at that house it was on a February day in 1997.
4. The pros of moving to America
There are many great reasons why moving to America was so great not to mention that it was even better when we arrived cause we came for free. I will make a list here of the good aspects of America compared to my country.
* there is 24/7 electricity
* It has a much better economy
* more job opportunities
* no dictator
* cleaner environment
* better treatments
* Better architecture
* better schools
* much nicer roads
* more freedom
There are much more things to list, but these are what I felt were the most important to mention. I had most of my great child hood memories here and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
5. The cons of leaving Iraq
One of the biggest problems when someone moves away from their own home country is having to say good bye and not being able to see your other family members. For me however that was not a problem I was 5 when we left and 6 when we arrived to America, but for my parents it was very difficult leaving their relatives behind and their parents.
We also had to wait for 4 years before getting our green cards and you could not travel anywhere unless you had that, but they had to wait longer before going back to visit because by that time 9/11 happened and people in certain middle eastern countries weren't allowed to leave the country. Another thing is that some of the food over there is not available in the U.S. so I did not get to eat some of the foods that I missed over there. We did however at least have one aunt who was living in America, but they were in living Tennessee we visited each other a few times.
5. The dangers
Escaping was not an easy task there were a couple of times were the Peshmerga (Kurdish military) was battling Saddam's military and one of those places was in my hometown. One of our neighbors got shot and killed and that day I was standing outside when that happened. I didn't know at the time what that was, but that could have easily been me since I was so close to it. That picture is of the chemical gas attack I mentioned earlier.
All the successful countries are multicultural
Well that is my mytake on my first experience moving to another country. The video link above is of me on fox news when I was 7. Guess which one I am :P? #GaGWritingContest