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Iraqi Voices: Fady Aqrawi

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It back in 2003 when the history of my future began.

Before this date, everything was as casual time as any other lived in parts and corners of Iraq. As any other kid of my age in 2003, I was waiting to finish my high school to go to college. Any young person not enrolled in college would have been obliged to join the Iraqi Army.

Once the U.S. war with Iraq began, the choice was no longer mine. April 2003 was the time when everything had changed, it was too dangerous to attend school and most of the male students my age feared that the Bath Party members would force us into Army service. With a great command of the English language and a desire to help my country, I looked to the American Army for a position as a translator. I had seen that since the start of the war there weren’t enough interpreters and confusion was rampant.

Deciding to work with Americans was a turning point for me, because many things had changed, I no longer felt the fear that I had before. Working with the U.S. forces gave me the opportunity to work towards a free and democratic Iraq. In recognition of my services I received two appreciation certificates and my fellow friends were supporting the job I did and were hoping to find a similar job for themselves.

However, it wasn’t long before the violence escalated and in 2004 my home, Mosul, had become a battleground. Iraqis who helped Americans felt themselves in grave danger. Overnight the friends you knew turned against you, giving information about your whereabouts to insurgents and terrorists. Two of my friends who worked with Americans were beheaded, there murders caught on camera and sold in the open markets, labeled “Punishment of Traitors.”

Panic surrounded everyone who helped the Americans, Mosul fell under insurgency’s control, police members left their positions in police-stations and many joined the insurgency, providing weapons, vehicles, radios, and information. I sought refuge in a Monastery, keeping a low profile of myself, trying to avoid people around me. One night the police came to the monastery for a weapons check and I hid in the Church fearing they were searching for those who worked for the Americans, the so-called “traitors.”

The situation was unbearable and I knew I would be killed or kidnapped. I made my escape to Syria, and then fled to Turkey, where I connected with the List Project. After two years, I was resettled to New England in September 2009 thanks to the help of my attorneys at Holland & Knight. Here in the U.S., I am starting another chapter of life that is full of surprises, forming another future that I desperately long to have on the land of Uncle Sam!


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