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Special report: The debate over whether to intervene in Iraq
Debating the News: Iraq Learn more about the arguments and make your own decision... 08.07.02
Attack Iraq? Should American forces remove Iraq's dictator? 08.05.02
Sanctions Overhaul Margaret Warner reports on the United Nations' decision to modify sanctions against Iraq. 05.14.02
Iraq Under Pressure Margaret Warner analyzes Iraq's decision to meet with the U.N. regarding weapons inspections with four experts. 03.07.02
Being an Iraqi American Posted:12.06.02
What is it like to be both an American and an Iraqi? Muna Al-Husaini, an 18-year-old Iraqi refugee, reflects on her experiences in the United States.
Muna Al-Husaini, Age 18
When I first left my home country of Iraq ten years ago, I was only eight years old. I remember being very frightened since we were involved in the Gulf War and the people were now trying to rise up against our leader, Saddam Hussein. Would I ever see my home again? What about my friends and the family we were leaving behind? What would our future be like? These and a thousand other questions raced through my mind as we entered Saudi Arabia and an unknown future.
The United Nations people were very nice to us and I learned a new word, I was a "refugee." How strange this seemed to me when only a short time ago I was a happy girl with nothing more to worry about than school and play.
After a time in the Saudi refugee camp we were told by the U.N. staff
that we would be going to our new home and that would be America. You
see, a refugee never knows what country they will be sent to and they
must wait until a government decides to accept them.
My family and I talked excitedly about what life would be like in America, we had all seen American movies and of course we had learned in school about it. We were still worried about whether we would be able to get along in this new and wonderful country, but the thought of life without bombs and fear overwhelmed any trepidations we may have had. Everyone looked forward to the day when we would get on a big plane and begin our lives in the United States.
When we arrived in America we were sent to Erie, PA where people were waiting to help us. The International Institute of Erie staff came to the airport to pick us up and they showed us all we needed to do over the next few weeks. There was so much to learn, from language to grocery shopping to how to go to the doctor. We felt very lucky that Americans were so friendly and helpful to us and gradually we learned all we needed to know.
Now I feel that I am American and not Iraqi. I came here at such a young age that most of my schooling and growing up were done here and this made me American. I still follow my Muslim religion and I wear the headscarf known as "hijab" but I also enjoy pizza and shopping malls!
The news that is on the TV now has reawakened the worries and fears that once were a part of my daily life. I hear talk of war, weapon inspections, bombings and I am afraid all over again.
This time I am not afraid for myself but for all those innocent people who still live in my homeland. My country has babies, children and grandparents and bombs do not discriminate when they land.
Saddam Hussein has caused too much pain for the citizens of Iraq, he needs to leave office, but how will bombing help this? If they kill others and not him will anything change?
I do not pretend to understand the complications of world politics,
I am an eighteen-year-old girl, but I'm not sure if this is the answer
to the problems that have plagued Iraq for so many years. I know that
I want my family and my old friends to be safe and that someday I would
like to be able to return there for a vacation and hug each and everyone
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