I start my statement here. First of all, I talk about my life and the life of the Iraqis in general that live in Baghdad, Iraq. As you know, right now Baghdad is insecure and you know all the hardships and worry and fear that we have. For me and my family, I cannot tell in detail, but in general it was a very dark history, a very dark time. The time and the hours and days and the months that passed, I cannot tell you in detail, but generally they were dark days. Every day we experience suicide bombs and killing and fear and worry and hardship. All these were from terrorists who want to kill or do whatever bad to the peaceful Iraqi people. So my life was hard, of course. Very hard.
I was one of the staff of the Ministry of the Interior, and I was a police officer. When someone is a police officer in a city or country in chaos, people will not like you. You are working for their safety, for their health or their stability, but still it was a very hard job. But I could not leave because it is my country, it is my city. I could not just disregard that and pursue my own life. I struggle to do my best because the Iraqi police, their main goal, their main duty, is to make stability and peace for the people.
All of these problems that I mentioned and more that I cannot write, now when I come to the United States of America, it changed. It is a very good life, a stable, a peaceful life. Right now I am helping myself and my family and my friends and loved ones living here. I left behind very hard days and chaos and now I’ve come here and I experience very tranquil days. Now I am feeling that I am 15 years old again, although my age is 21. I feel that all these years are behind me… all the war and hatred. So now I am happy staying here. I hope now I will change my life and maybe one day I will be back but now my life is good with the Iraqis living here, though of course I miss my country.
Ali offered his story through participation in the Pre‐Employment Project. This is an employment service for new arrivals provided by our DHS partner, the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) of Portland.