Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
January 1st, 2010
Iraqi Exodus
Video: Settling in Portland, Oregon

In the film Iraqi Exodus, WIDE ANGLE host Aaron Brown interviews Maan Kaka, an Iraqi Christian living in Amman, Jordan, who is about to leave this temporary refuge for a new life in America.

He has no idea what to expect.

In this WIDE ANGLE web exclusive, we see how Maan Kaka is adjusting to life in suburban Portland, Oregon.

Sorry, this video is not available.

Camera: Ian Probasco

  • Margot

    Should he accept help, in what ways might we make the life of the Kaka family easier?

  • lisa lindenberg

    i can’t imagine the courage it takes to start over. i wish them all the best.

  • Candida Dixon

    A very moving documentary.
    What can I do to help?

  • Tiffany

    I wish there were a way for me to communicate via email or other form of communication to welcome Maan Kaka and his family to the United States. I can’t begin to imagine what they have experienced.

  • Sean

    He should have come to canada … Here , He would have a good job .. and a better life

  • Terry

    I hope Kaka and his family take hold and thrive here. I don’t know if I could do what he’s doing, starting all over in a foreign country. I hope PBS will pass along our support and hope for their success.

  • Wendy

    May God bless their hearts!

  • Kelsey

    The whole Wide Angle was very moving. I had hoped to go to Syria or Iraq to do archaeology, but now I want to be able to help all of those refugees as well. Thank you Wide Angle for such a great and informative documentary!

  • sandi rosencrans

    There are thousands more like Maan Kaka that we Americans are neglecting and, no doubt, we will reap the repercussions of that neglect. It’s time for me to get political active over this unforgiveable neglect while inspiring my community to sponsor at least one such family. I welcome Maan to America!

  • MAXINE

    This reinforced the fact that we had no plan when we entered Iraq. Can you please follow up with how Kaka is coping in Oregon?

  • morgan jenkins

    What a great doc on the refugees. The Kaka family and their plight made it more personal. I will pray for them and I too would like them to know we wish them a blessed and great future here in America for their family. We would like to know more on how they do in the future. Welcome to America and God bless you!

  • Snookie

    In spite of our own Gov’t’s shameful neglect in helping these brave Iraqi refugees, I no doubt believe that the American people have the most generous hearts in the WORLD. Please find a way to show us how we might help these families like Kaka and others who lost so much. Kudos to Wide Angle. I LOVE your programming!

  • Dawn

    My heart goes out to Maan Kaka and Family and to all the other family’s who’s lives have been torn apart and destoyed by this war!

  • Ilona

    This is hard to start over, we, my parents brothers and I, were world war II refugees from Holland and we came in the last wave which was in 1957. Long after wars end. It was not easy formy parents and we had hard times but the people who sponsered us and new friends made it easier. I wish this family well and welcome to the USA>

  • Jessica

    As a fellow Portlander, I wish Mr. Kaka and his family all the best. I wish there was a way to contact him and his family, because I would be honored to help in any way possible. Mr. Kaka, if you ever read this, please know that the Americans are deeply sorry for what your family and many others have had to go through. We can’t right the wrongs of our political leaders, but we can as individuals, reach out personally to everyone who has been severely impacted by the actions of our government. Please understand that it was never the Americans’ intent for you and your people to face this reality. We as Americans empathize with you, and we are filled with nothing but compassion and loving kindness. I am sorry that my government has let you down, and please accept our deepest, most sincere apologies.

  • Jessica

    And with that in mind, I just want to say WELCOME TO OREGON! :)

  • David Anderson

    I was particularily struck by Mr. Kaka’s comment that his goal in America was to feel like a man and raise his child to be a good person. He needs to know that facing the pain of leaving the familiar and acting on the hope for a better life for his family, he has already proven the former. His individual courageous spark repeating again and again in the history of immigration to America makes us all better as a community and fuels the beacon of hope America projects out into the world. Thank you Mr. Kaka for coming to live among us and reminding us how all our families once faced a simular choice then embraced the opportunity to build a new, dignified life in this country.

  • Shalom

    I am so excited to hear Mr. Kaka’s impression of Portland (makes me home sick). I hope that he continues to find ways there to inspire people to both help and accept help. He and his family are very deserving and will be an asset to the community.

  • Andrew

    may the lord bless you and keep you may his face shine upon you here in portland. thank you [wideangle] for keeping me aware and reflective.

  • Carol Arvidson

    I was raised in Portland and am happy for the Kaka family going to that city. I am certain that as much as Maan is able to accept assistance that is provided he will once again return to his chosen profession.

  • Rami

    I live in Portland, and I can introduce Maan to the arabic community, if you can pass him my e-mail address that will be great. thanks.

  • Douglas Ehrenhaft

    I welcome Maan Kaka and his family to America. They come to this country as many others have hoping and finding a new future for themselves and their family. people who are not afraid of hard work will always do very well here. God Bless them .
    I also want to thank PBS for bringing this problem to the forefront.Maybe some of these oil producing countries that spend millions on solid gold this and that might see this fantastic documentry and donate some of those millions toward a good cause.

  • maan kaka

    well, thanks for your comments on the film and also say thanks to lan for introducing my case to the world.
    Thanks so much to all of you

  • Lauren

    i’m glad they are now living in the most “green” and progressive place in america

  • heartbroken

    I was so sad when watching this documentary. It’s unbelievable what has happened to the Iraqi people. What can I do to help them?

  • denise

    I am the Director of a Refugee Resettlement proram in Buffalo, NY. We resettle approximately 200-300 refugee clients per yer, including recent Iraqi arrivals. For those of you asking how you can help: I urge you to contact local refugee resettlement agencies. You can directly impact the lives of new arrivals in many ways. Agencies are required to set up clients in apartments, provide food, clothing, transportation all for $ 425.00 per client. We can all use donated items, school supplies, toiletries, household goods. Connections to employers or apartments/landlords are very helpful. Many agencies seek mentors who are able to help families adjust by assisting them with tasks such as: how to use public transportation, how to bank, how to use a laundromat. I am sure that these agencies would welcome the help, as would we. I know that we all appreciate the positive feedback and support that is shown here. The US has assisted in creating this situation, and we are morally obligated to find a resolution. Thank you

  • Terry

    The show was eye opening. Though I know this total process is hard and challenging for Maan Kaka, and he is willing to do what ever it takes for his family, how long do you think it will take for him to get working in the field in which he was trained? Blessings on the Kaka family with their new start in America!

  • Salome Mizosine

    Maan Kaka, I wish you the best. I have the same situation as you and I know it’s not easy but take it easy. With God support you’ll make it. Be blessed.

  • Eddy

    Best wishes Maan Kaka. I hope OPB follows up on your story.

  • A friend

    Mr. Kaka you and your family are an inspiration to others that find themselve put in a situation that test their faith. I admire you because of your perseverance. Dt 31:6 says, Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave nor forsake you. May the Lord grant you all your hopes and desires.

  • Antonio Careca

    What an amazing documentary. Bravo to Wide Angle and Aaron Brown in reporting this heart-breaking story. I wish Mr. Kaka well in his resettlement in the USA. As a fellow immigrant (though not a refugee) I encourage him to hang in there and take every opportunity that comes his way. The U.S. Federal Government sometimes does evil things, especially in its foreign policy, but the American people are very kind-hearted, and this country does offer some great opportunities, as I can personally attest to. All the best to Mr. Kaka and family and to all other people that continue to suffer as a result of man’s continuing inhumanity towards his fellow man.

  • Charles Mccoy

    Nancy Pelosi should impeach Bush for getting us into the mess in Iraq. Two million refugees in countries that can’t handle them.

  • NoWar4Ever

    Please ask yourself: Who made this family’s life so miserable? My answer is: The US government. Who elected the US government? We, the American people. So now all of you feel sorry for this poor family. Have you ever thought that each of you should be responsible for the ordeal experienced by this family?

  • Alba M.

    I loved this documentary it makes me realized of how blessed I am to be an American. It also, makes me admire my mom for leaving her home country in hopes of a much better life. I wish KaKa the best & WELCOME TO AMERICA!!!!

  • Michael Thomas

    alan waz alan ameerika wa oregon, haza saied

  • James C

    How about the 2 million homeless people in AMERICA? Oh wait, it’s more than 2 million. Why not take care of OURSELVES first, instead of letting our bleeding hearts blind us.

  • Liz Henry

    If you would like to help in the resettlement of Iraqi refugees who worked as translators for the U.S., please contact: The List Project.
    http://netroots.thelistproject.org/

  • Anne

    Are you kidding me? You wish Saddam Hussein was still the Dictator so he could continue with torture and genocide. Because apparently he was a nice man, almost as nice as Hitler. But wait, the Holocaust didn’t exist according to the majority of Muslim extremists. Down with America, down with having pride in our country. What about all the suffering American CITIZENS!!!!!!!!!! Let’s help our citizens FIRST!!!

  • Rina Tina

    When did it become popular to hate our own country?

  • Andre

    When I watched teh Kaka family on PBS it reminded exactly of the struggle the my family went through leaving Iraq. I was born in Iraq and we left during the early 90s. We came to Chicago, and my dad had to work 3 jobs at first to support us. Now we live GREAT I am starting business school in the fall, where I hope to double major. I don’t think my family could of ever achived what we have if we stayed in Iraq. I hope every refugee can come here to the US and make somthing with there lives. God bless all of those refugees and may they all find peace. And lasty, Gob bless America for giving my family a second chance.

  • Israel

    To those that right away scream, how about us?! What about american citizens?! Look, Iraq didn’t ask for the invasion. Iraq didn’t ask for the U.S. to send thousands of soldiers and equipment, spend billions of dollars over there and make refugees of them. So, if you wanted to keep all that money here to help american people, this country should have thought about not invading Iraq! Or, by now it should have removed itself, if not to say years ago, especially when it has been proven Iraq had no involvement and no weapons. Are you protesting the war? Probably not, you’re probably in favor of it. Have your cake and eat it too. Gimme a break… For your homeless cry, FYI, for a lot of them it is by CHOICE. Not because they cannot work, or don’t have a SSN to work. I see countless people day in and day out, in the heat, in the cold, it’s no problem for them to sit/stand out there for hours holding signs picking for money. How many easy jobs aren’t out there that you could perform sitting or standing and NOT be homeless? Secretary’s, dishwashers, phone operators, flippin’ burgers, assembly lines, gimme a break….

  • maan

    maankaka63@yahoo.com

    maankaka1963@hotmail.com

    if anyone need to help just send his/her e-mail

    thanks for supporting

  • zzbozzo

    whos letting all these bastards into our country, they should be arrested and convicted of treason!

  • parvaz

    this guy speack english very well,well who knows who was when he lived in iraq
    also,when we talke about Refugees we should not make mistake
    some of this so caLled refugees ( not aLl of them) are those who tortured and killed lots of shiats and kordish and then now that thier supported is gone to hell( i mean saddam housin) they try to chage the face
    they should not be allowed to go any where
    but those who are being killed in iraq( specially shits) who has been treating and killed by insurgent should be allowed
    long live with iraq and USA

  • Marwab

    I am an Iraqi and moving soon o Portland Oregan and I gues I will be at the same stution like hem!!!!!!

  • Anne

    Immigration is what made this country great! One side of my family came on the mayflower while the others left Newfoundland in the early 20th century. All of them came here for freedom (of religon and making a better life for your family), and the peace that comes with it. We are all guitly of takening these rights for granted. God Bless you and your family!

  • ohan family

    we are iraqi refugee in amman jordan we christian we run from iraq what kind help we get from world church help us get usa and what kind sponsors need to go to usa

  • Iris

    Just saw this documentary for the first time. I am an immigrant from Germany (1952) I have much respect for anyone wanting to make a better life for himself and his family. Shame on those so called Americans who can’t see the forest for the trees ; who will cut their noses off to spite their faces. What I am trying to say is, “Nobles Oblige” pardon my French. Who are we to look down on others?
    All this as we try to teach our children to honor life and to be honorable human beings in doing so. The Government and the Governed are two different animals. There for the grace of God go I.

Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2014 WNET.ORG Properties LLC. All rights reserved.