Friday, May 30, 2008

Life of a Refugee:

Here is the second entry by an Iraqi refugee living in Jordan:

Iraqis in Jordan face all kinds of difficulties, from aggressive attitudes of Jordanians to unemployment, to an unstable and illegal existence.

The uncertain future for most Iraqis could be seen in their eyes. The impact of it is so severe that they are ready to consider going back to danger with no regret rather than staying and suffering from all the difficulties in Jordan. For me, Iraqi refugees in Jordan need serious attention and assistance programs that could at least provide them with the minimum support and care they need. Here is why Iraqi refugees need the support of the international community.

In my personal experience, difficulties started from entering Jordan until one arrives to the decision of going back and facing death instead of staying and struggling without even knowing the reason why? At some point, the harsh conditions force you to self-pose a series of questions: why do Iraqis get this kind of treatment? Do they deserve it? Why? For Jordanians, Iraqis are traitors who deal with the Americans and they are followers of Iran. Still, why?

One can only see all those accusations popping up in the head of any Jordanian once they recognize the Iraqi accent. It made me feel guilty, it made me want to defend myself and forget all about me being the real victim of all that happened. During my stay in Jordan, I met a lot of Iraqis, acquaintances, friends in addition to lots of relatives. We all shared the feeling of isolation, abandonment and of hopelessness. Doors are never open to us.

For example, it is not easy to get medical treatment when one is sick. Iraqis have limited or no access to even the most basic health care. The cost of health care is beyond the reach of most refugees. There were only two clinics providing free or subsidized health care to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees. The barriers to affordable health care have dire implications for Iraqis. They are not getting the treatment they need for chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. Women and girls are not receiving critical reproductive health attention. The longer this endures, the greater the number of lives at risk.

Schools are overcrowded and it is not easy to deal with the system. But the main problem remains to be finding employment.

Living in Jordan is not easy, you must have a fairly high income to keep a decent standard of living. At this point, one comes to think about finding a job that will provide. Even if you found a job, salaries in Amman or other cities are not enough to cover all expenses but it’s better than nothing.

Still, if you are an Iraqi looking for a job, you might as well dream of going to the moon instead. A hopeless quest, you will end up spending all that you have on transportation to go to interviews ,that is, if you had even heard from the places which you applied to. Jordanians will prefer to hire a fellow citizen than going through lots of problems with the government because of employing Iraqis. Besides, the Jordanian government has restrictions over hiring non-citizens. In order to get employment, you have to be a legal resident and issued a special work permit. If you don’t have a legal residency status; you will not be issued a work permit and as a result you will not find a job. Simply, the suffering goes on.

While those of us who fled from Iraq might be safer than those who didn't, we still face many hardships.

1 comment:

Angad said...

Is the exchange rate between Iraqi and Jordanian dinars also a reason for economic woes?

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