I never knew how badly I wanted to leave Iraq until I was forced to come back.
My wife and I are pharmacists. In most countries, having a marketable skill might be a ticket to freedom, but Saddam Hussein denied passports for many valued professionals, including medical workers. So my wife and I could only dream of leaving as our country drifted from one war into another.
After Hussein’s fall in 2003, we were so excited about the change that we decided to stay. The optimism did not last long, though, and when friends told me last year that I could get a good job in the United Arab Emirates, I decided to join the hundreds of thousands of other Iraqis looking for a new start. [complete article]
For the tens of thousands of Iraqis who work for the United States in Iraq, daily life is an elaborate balancing act of small, memorized untruths. Desperate for work of any kind when jobs are extremely hard to come by in Iraq, they do what they must, even though affiliation with the Americans makes them targets.
The Iraqis have stories for their scars, stories for nights away from home, stories for what they do outside their neighborhoods all day. Most often the stories are told to neighbors and acquaintances, though sometimes they are told to children as well, to ensure that the truth about a job stays strictly within the family. [complete article]