September 17, 2007
An Iraqi interpreter writes...
The Iraqi workers asylum campaign gathers pace with another article in today's Times and an event planned at the Houses of Parliament on 9 October. When the campaign started we got the obligatory Facebook group going (there are, in fact two) and now an Iraqi interpreter has posted his story to the 'wall'.
Ibrahim posted in message-sized chunks but I've reproduced it here in one piece.
"I want to say something in brief.
"I used to work as Interpreter/Translator and cultural advisor for the MNF-I in Basrah represented by the British Forces, my contract was directly with the British Ministry of Defence. I worked from July 2003 till Dec 2006, I have no regret in working for the British Forces and for MNF in general, I worked in many sensitive places with commanders from MNF and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).I participated in many operations, courses, trainings, raids and other classified things I can not say with American, British, Italian, Dutch and Danish forces in the south of Iraq. I faced many dangerous and threats, in addition to face risk shoulder by shoulder with Coalition Forces I faced troubles and threatens as traitor and spy for the foreign as the insurgents and militias claims. Being from Sunni minority in basrah (the majority is Shia) put me in another risk.
"I have been threatened and my family house has been attacked. I had to make my family traveled to another place and I moved to Jordan where I am seeking for Asylum now.
"I worked for more than three years for the British and most important for my Iraqi people but Iraq is not safe for me or my family anymore, I can not settle in Jordan for many reasons, Jordanian Government does not accept Iraqis, I am a traitors in the eyes of people of Jordan who are well known as Saddam supporters and I am illegal in Jordan and have no idea when Jordanian authorities decided to enforce me and people like me to return to Iraq.
"Even though I consider myself in a better situation than my family who left in Iraq. I applied for an American system called "resettlement in the US for former MNF translators" and this program is taking too much time, I applied two months ago and did not heard from them since.
"I contacted the British MoD when I was in my job asking if the British Government intends to issue a scheme of Special Immigration like the American for its Interpreters but the answer was Britain has no intention to do same, I contacted them in Nov 2006 and got the answer in March 2007.
"If the US government accepted to give me the right of resettled in USA that will be shame for the British Government because I did not work for them directly. I still have the respect to all to the men and women I worked with. Those from many nationality and races who have the will to make the Iraqi nation live in peace, those who left their families and countries behind disregarding all the risk to start over the future of Iraq.
"I am more worry of myself than my family, my family which consists of father, mother, 2 sisters, 2 brothers, aunt and disable old sick grandmother. Even if I granted the resettlement to the US all of these people will stay in Iraq without protection and without someone care about them
"I hope someone can pass my voice and my problem to the British and American authorities and I am sure they are able to do something."