The Mesopotamia Cyber Tower: An Iraqi Refugee Tells His Story
Prepared by international team
Countries of the European Union do their best in offering a shelter and new hope to Iraqi refugees. Those distressed people brought with them all sorts of bizarre experiences. They told stories in their native Arabic, then followed a translation into the language of the host country and, eventually, into English. The material traversed the globe for the final editing process here down under to match the Australian spirit of compassion to those in misery. The main objective at hand is to preserve the authenticity of original testimonies. Hopefully, this might not resemble the Tower of Babel that once dominated the panorama of the ancient Babylon. Ironically, the contemporary Mesopotamia looks like an enormous cyber tower of human passions and misjudgments.
Here follows a story of Ahmed, 30, former teacher of agriculture in Hilla (South of Baghdad), Sunni, married with two young sons, jailed for two years under Saddam Hussein, escaped via Jordan, currently training to work for a  forestry in a host country in Europe.  (The personal characteristics have been changed for the sake of the welfare of the person concerned).
17 May 2007: second week in the host country
We have our rules. They are not the best ones but they are ours. We have to follow them, it is good for all of us and she should understand it.
I know that in your country, in your culture, rules are different. She is crying and shouting at me. The Government pays her every month. But she will not get money this month. She was not here. She went to Syria to see her parents. Well, I feel sorry for her. I do believe, she did not understand that she was not allowed to go abroad or simply forget. She escaped the war. A group of men raped her; she lost her mind, her memory, she doesn’t want to remember. I do feel sorry but I can’t do anything about it.  I represent our rules. I can only follow them.
In her culture when a man rapes a woman it is her fault; it doesn’t matter whether it was during the war or not. She has to cover it if she wants to live and be accepted by her family. What to do, the life is not easy. She talks to me but she loses herself. Her desperate sadness takes over and she doesn’t want to exist …
I know she has her family here, two brothers. She has a place to go to, someone who would take care of her.  
Alma works with me; she knows the rules in the Muslim world; she is from there. She knows that her brother will give his life for his sister and father never let his daughter die as long as she follows the tradition. It is simple. It brings order and brings peace. OK, I trust her. She knows better. She knows what is going on under the surface.
Americans are good, they like kebab, and they have money, they paid well. But I had to escape. Suddenly, it was too dangerously. This war is a difficult one.  Too many people, too many religions, and too many interests. It was not as easy as it looked. Americans should know it before they started. Life is fragile. In fact, it doesn’t matter whether it is war or not. Life is fragile. And you never know when it will be over.
He said that he was kidnapped. He doesn’t know who did it. It was a group of people. They entered his home in the middle of night and took him into the unknown. He was shouting, he was scared; they called his family and asked for money. If they not get it he would die. They paid for him. He came back home. He sold everything he had and escaped. He had good luck. It costs a lot of money to come to Europe. He paid 30,000 dollars. It is written in weekly magazines that it costs $15,000 – 20,000. The man just smiled. He has already paid for his freedom. Well, the price is still going up, he adds.
Life is fragile but now I can’t let myself feel it. Well, it is good to remember it. But no, I do need a computer to register all those people who are coming. Their names sound strange. I simply don’t remember what their names bring with themselves. What a life story they cover? What kinds of feelings and expectations?  People who come there, they are like a big river, sometimes you have a feeling there is no end…
Well, it is just a beginning of my work. I hope that it will be better. I do hope that I will understand more.
Yes, Americans are good; they helped me to escape from Baghdad. I translated for them. It was a good job. I liked it. And suddenly it became dangerous. I couldn’t stay at my home. I was afraid that they would come in the darkness and kill me. I am alone here. My family – I don’t know. They disappeared when the war started. I think that they all are dead. I am a Muslim. It is not good to be a Muslim, but is not good to be a Christian either. Americans are good but they don’t understand our rules. I do believe that they wanted to help. But nothing good can result from this war. People are dying every day. And Baghdad was such a powerful city, full of life, but it is no more a place where Allah lives.
What I know about Baghdad? Baghdad is a place of a great religion: Islam….
No, I don’t have any documents to prove that I am a teacher. All my papers are in Baghdad. I did nothing about my documents when I escaped. I left so suddenly at night. I had to save my life. In such a moment you don’t think about your documents but rather you think to save your body. I had my home there, my house, my work and my car.
My house doesn’t exist any more. They took my car; they shot dead my parents, my sister and my brother. I even don’t know who did it.
He wants to learn the new language; language of the country where he lives now. He wants to speak but he doesn’t remember. He goes to school. He is very conscientious, he tried, he even stayed longer after classes to learn more, but he doesn’t remember. He was in a prison. They tortured him and then left him on the road. Yes, he had good luck. They could kill him. But they were a bit compassionate. He escaped. He is smiling to me but I know that he is angry and in same moment he is helpless. He still hates. He even hates me though he doesn’t know it. War is still inside him. He didn’t come to peace yet.
I am here with my son, but I want all my family back. My family is still in Baghdad. The customs officer discovered that they had the wrong passports. He did not allow them to cross the border. Maybe he wanted some more money? My family - they had to return to Baghdad, to the city of death. I can’t sleep. I can’t do anything. I think only about my family. I am scared. I want them to come here. Maybe, they will come soon but when, Allah allowing.

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