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Archive for July, 2009

Blooded Cross

Blooded Cross

 

(AFP)- Mosul, Iraq — The brother of a soft drinks factory manager was shot dead by gunmen outside the restive northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Sunday, police said.

 It was unclear if “Ala Bashir” a 30-year-old Christian, was killed because of his faith. Thousands of Christians fled Mosul last year because of targeted violence in the city.

 In Sunday’s incident, gunmen approached the factory, half-way between Mosul and the predominantly Christian town of Talkeef, in four cars — two BMWs and two Opels — according to a police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity.

 They beat the factory’s guard and demanded to see the facility’s boss but when his brother “Ala Bashir” appeared they shot him on the spot and fled.

 According to Iraq’s human rights ministry, around half of Mosul’s Christian community, some 2,275 families, abandoned their homes and jobs in October to take shelter in Christian villages.

 Since the US-led invasion of 2003, hundreds of Iraqi Christians have been killed across Iraq and a string of churches attacked.

 Most recently, four Christians were killed and 32 other people were injured in seven attacks on churches in Baghdad and Mosul over a 48-hour period earlier this month.

 

10

In Ankawa town, a largely Christian town at the western edge of Erbil city, thousands of posters of different Christian political parties have covered the walls. Very few people want to talk about politics, however.

 People on the streets and in the shops and cafes refuse to comment on the Kurdistan parliamentary and presidential elections that took place on July 25.

 “We are not interested in politics.” “We don’t know who we are voting for.” This is what people in Ankawa say when asked to comment on the elections.

 A number of youths sitting in front of a shop selling CDs near the main Ankawa town church at first refused to talk. Later, however, one of the youths, a confident engineering student who spoke fluent Kurdish, said, “Our main concerns are housing problems, unemployment and difficulty getting married.”

 Although he said it is good to have their representatives in Kurdistan Parliament, he was not confident that their representatives will be able to obtain all their rights.

 The elections ended last Sunday, and awaiting for results to be announced by the Independent Higher Electoral Commission.

 

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Message of Congress to Nori Al-Maliki

Message of Congress to Nori Al-Maliki

rest of the message

rest of the message

 

Written By: FA ME

Members of U.S. Congress have sent a message to the Iraqi Prime Minister Nori Al-Maliki expressing their concern to the situation of Iraqi Christians in Iraq and other minorities. the members expressed their deep concern to the status of these minorities especially after the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, and the burden of protecting these minorities will remain mainly the responsibility of the Iraqi Forces.

In this message, Congressman Frank Wolf, whose known for being a pioneer American politician who calls on protecting the ethnic-minorities inside Iraq including Christians requesting the “increase of Security level in places of worship, conducting investigations that aims to disclose the information on who was behind these recent attacks, will be a strong indication that your Government is committed to maintain the security of these ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq”.

worthy to mention that the Prime Minister Nori Al-Maliki is visiting the U.S. carrying to President Obama many unresolved cases including the issue of the rich oil city Kirkuk, that became the center of struggle and dispute among Iraqi components and forces! hoping that his Highness will submit the issue of Iraqi Christians on the table of discussion trying to find solution to their ordeal.

 

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Virtual Image for the Moat (FA ME)

Virtual Image for the Moat (FA ME)

By: FA ME

 Iraqi Christians are digging a moat around one of their biggest towns in northern Iraq to guard it against car and suicide bombings.

 The moat will ring the town of Hamdaniya a few kilometers east of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

 Hamdaniya, locally known as Qarqoush, is a predominantly Christian town and a haven for hundreds of Christian families forced to leave Mosul.

 It is one the largest Christian towns among the string of Christian settlements to the east and west of Mosul.

 It is situated in a fertile plateau and surrounded by Arab villages.

 Officials in Hamdaniya say they lack the resources to control scores of country roads leading to the town.

 The town is currently under Kurdish militia control and Iraqi observers say Sunni Arab insurgents will continue targeting it so long as it remains under Kurdish control.

 The Kurds want to officially add Hamdaniya to their self-rule areas but officials of Nineveh Province of which Mosul is the capital have said they cannot accept Kurdish presence in the town.

 It is not clear when the moat will be completed and who will be financing the dig.

  

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We owe Iraqis more
By Yvonne Abraham, Globe Columnist | July 19, 2009
Iraqi immigrant and former US goverment translator Ihsan Yaqoob lives in a Chelsea apartment with his wife and two children. (Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis)

Iraqi immigrant and former US goverment translator Ihsan Yaqoob lives in a Chelsea apartment with his wife and two children. (Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis)

CHELSEA – Must Ihsan Yaqoob risk being killed so his family can make a life here?

For four years, Yaqoob worked with the US military in Baghdad, translating for doctors treating captured Iraqis. It was a decent living, and for the first couple of years, he and his family were fine. But then people started calling in the middle of the night, threatening to kill them. A brick smashed through Yaqoob’s bedroom window as he slept. Strangers in a van trolled the streets, asking his son’s friends to point him out. The friends pretended not to know him. Men with guns knocked at Yaqoob’s door. When he lied about having a gun of his own, they walked away.

Such luck couldn’t last. The whole family fled to Syria in the spring of 2007. Last November, Yaqoob was granted a special visa for Iraqis who had worked with US forces. By then, he and his family had given up everything they owned, and drained their savings.

The fact that Yaqoob had put himself and his family in grave danger to help our country wage war in his country afforded him no special status. Like the 60,000 other refugees admitted to the United States last year, they got a check to cover their first month’s rent, cash payments that would last eight months, and food stamps for about a year. His family’s monthly income came to $950.

  It was not the plush red carpet routinely rolled out in Scandinavia, where generous cash payments for refugees can last for years. But it’s the way things are done here, where up-from-the-bootstraps is an article of faith. The thing is, bootstraps are in short supply these days. Yaqoob, 52, landed here at the worst possible moment for making a new life. He can’t even get hired as a dishwasher. He hasn’t paid rent on the one-bedroom Chelsea apartment he shares with his wife and two grown children since April. His landlord is evicting him.

“After that, what shall I do?’’ he said, throwing up his hands as he sat outside a Broadway cafe Friday morning. “I’ve been knocking on all doors.’’

He is grateful to have been allowed to come here. He is glad that his family is safe. He is also lost.

We owe Yaqoob more, not just because of what he has done for us in the past, but because of what he may yet do. The federal government desperately needs Arabic speakers, particularly ones who know the Middle East. Hundreds of the Iraqis who worked with US forces are now here, and desperately need jobs. Yet nobody seems to have come up with a way to match our needs with theirs. Kirk Johnson, whose List Project brings Iraqis who helped American forces to the United States, said only a few have found work as government translators here. The rest are shut out because the security hurdles are too high, or because they’re not citizens.

Yaqoob has turned to the only part of this country’s economy that seems solid these days: the war that drove him here. He tried to join the Army, but was told he is too old. So he has encouraged his son, now 20, to enlist instead.

“That way, he can get an education and help us,’’ Yaqoob said. “His mother doesn’t want him to do it. We have only one son. But we have no options.’’

For himself, Yaqoob sees no option besides returning to Iraq. He has applied for a job with a private contractor there. Every day, he hopes for the call that will send him back to a job he knows could get him killed.

“I might as well go back and die once,’’ he said. “There’s no point being here and dying every day.’’

 

 Yvonne Abraham is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at abraham@globe.com.

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Iraqi Refugees

Iraqi Refugees

 

It’s rather a new awake for the American Media for the Iraqi Refugees Crisis, the problem doesn’t limitedly deal with Iraqis outside Iraq in neighboring countries, but exceeds that to discuss matters of concern even inside the United States of America.

 This is one of the most recent articles written regarding Iraqi refugees’ crisis, and how great the obligation is for United States’ government to help solving it.

 

From: Boston Globe Editorial

 An obligation to refugees

July 17, 2009

 AS AMERICAN TROOPS withdraw from Iraq, they leave behind a population of refugees who are only part of a humanitarian crisis encompassing war zones all around the world. The United States is the largest donor of refugee relief, yet despite this effort and the United Nations refugee program, temporary shelter and aid give little comfort to refugees who are highly vulnerable to contagious disease and violence. As people grow up and die in camps, the idea that only temporary shelter is needed has become an idyllic fairy tale. The United States should provide a haven for more refugees.

 Each year the US government sets a number of refugees to resettle in the United States for protection, and this year the ceiling was raised from 70,000 to 80,000. This increase acknowledges the scale of the crisis but ignores the thousands of available spots that go unfilled each year. Existing programs to select refugees cannot meet the cap, and few refugees, who lack homes or clean water, could be expected to apply without help. Meaningful offers of resettlement require expanding support for programs that encourage eligible refugees to apply.

 Though resettlement and aid are critical to stemming the international crisis, the United States has a unique responsibility to those displaced by the war in Iraq. The American-led war caused 4 million Iraqis, nearly one-sixth of the population, to be driven from their homes. Their condition deteriorates as they deplete their savings and are unable to get work permits or access food rations.

 The goal in refugee crises is to safely return refugees to their homes, yet these conditions do not exist in Iraq. The United Nations has determined that Iraq is still too fragile to absorb the 1.5 million Iraqis who remain outside its borders. Many are now living in Jordan and Syria. Despite the huge socio-economic burden of refugee populations, these countries provide basic social services to many displaced Iraqis. They should not be punished for their generosity. The United States must increase support for these populations and shift some of the burden from Iraq’s neighbors.

 Many Iraqis continue to face persecution. Saving those who aided US forces should not just be the work of individuals such as Kirk Johnson of Somerville, who, after leaving Iraq, is forwarded death threats received by former interpreters and embassy workers begging for help to resettle.

 Even after moving to the United States, Iraqis face a poor quality of life. A study by the International Rescue Committee found that the program for resettled Iraqi refugees is “dangerously underfunded,’’ leaving many on the verge of homelessness and hunger. Even in humanitarian crises, no one should be satisfied with merely inviting homeless Iraqis to become homeless Americans.

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The Governor of Baghdad

The Governor of Baghdad

By: FA ME
 

The Governor of Baghdad, Dr. “Salah Abdulrazak” expressed his condolences to the families of the victims whom were killed in the terrorist attack by a car bomb targeting the Church of Mary the Virgin in Palestine St. in Baghdad.

 He attended the mass held for the memorial of the victims in the same church.

 Meanwhile, many religious figures from both Christian and Muslim side, have called on the Iraqi Government to strengthen protection of worship places, and emphasized on the need for more actions to prevent the success of this displacement plan against Christians after the repeated attacks on their churches. In same time, they called upon Christian people to uphold their rights and not to migrate outside their country!

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Iraqi Translator Working for British Forces

Iraqi Translator Working for British Forces

  

   Written By: FA ME

 

Unlike U.S. government, the British government was reluctant to act quickly and help Iraqi Translators the major allies and supporters of their mission in Iraq. They are using methods which don’t meet the standards of, any how, the friendship built between the British government and their allies who once have risked their life and their families’ life to be of great assistance to the British Army in Iraq, especially in Basra.

 This time Iraqi Translators have not been keeping their mouths shut, but started to act in return of the unjust treatment shown by British government, especially at the time now when Iranian funded militias are hunting down all those Iraqis who aided British Army in Basra.

 About 25 Iraqis, mainly interpreters, employed by British Forces in Iraq are to take legal action against the Government for allegedly failing to protect them from militias that regarded the men as traitors.

 The group members, who failed to benefit from an assistance scheme offered by Britain, said that they were owed a duty of care. Some still fear for their life despite a big drop in the influence of the Iranian-backed militants who once controlled Basra, southern Iraq. They say the tense relationship between Iran and Britain makes anyone associated with the British military more of a target.

 The Government has relocated more than 200 former workers and, where appropriate, their immediate families to Britain under the assistance program, introduced two years ago after a Times campaign about the plight of Iraqi interpreters.

 One former interpreter said that he was rejected from the assistance scheme because he worked six days shy of the one-year minimum. The father of two was forced to quit after receiving three death threats. Six of his friends, all interpreters, were killed by militants. One had his severed head dumped outside the British base where the man worked!!

 A father of six, he was held hostage for 12 days before his family paid a $10,000 (£6,000) ransom. He received no help from the British. The man said his request for asylum as part of the assistance scheme was rejected because he was not regarded as a skilled laborer such as an interpreter!! That is something unbelievable, this message says “work with me and I will dump you as soon as I leave”!!

 The law firm Leigh Day & Co is co-coordinating the legal action, which is expected to begin on Friday. “It is for financial compensation for those who have suffered the loss of the breadwinner of the family to help them to start rebuilding their lives,” said Sapna Malik, a partner at the firm.

 “It is also to send a message to the Armed Forces that they must have better planning for this in the future,” she told The Times. It was important to ensure better protection of the identity of people who work for British troops in difficult places such as Afghanistan, where local residents are employed.

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