The United States is known around the world as the “Land of Opportunity.” Millions of people from every end of the globe have strived to reach America, whether to escape unjust persecution due to religion, ethnicity, or corrupt governments, or simply out of a sense of adventure seeking a better life for themselves and their families. In 1976, I found myself in such a situation. I am a Kurd from Northern Iraq. I sought refuge from years of abuse at the hands of the Arabs who have come into the region under the guise of Islam all the while with a goal of stealing our lands. The Islamic army taught us that their religion is a “religion of peace,” but as it turns out, the religion is simply a pretext used for them to seize the region little by little.
Life for Kurds is very difficult in Iraq. It is even more so now in America where we are viewed as “Muslims” with Arabic origins by many people who have no knowledge or understanding of our origins. In my case, I fled Iraq just in time as my name was on a list of those to be executed by Saddam Hussein. I found this out by accident years later while working for the United States government as a translator.
After all of this time spent living in America, becoming a citizen, paying taxes, and even working for the government, I am being accused of not being loyal to the United States simply because I was born in Iraq. I am viewed by many within the government itself as a second class citizen. Unfortunately, this is not new to me. In my birthplace I am treated the same way by Arab and Turkish occupiers. The difference is that in America there are supposed to be laws to protect me and others like me. I will not accept second class status in the United States. I am here legally; I have been for over 30 years. I pay taxes; I have done so for over 30 years. And for over 20 years I have been a citizen of the United States.
This is why I am reaching out to the people of the US for help and hope to find a lawyer willing to take my case against the US Government as I do not have the resources to defend myself in this situation.
The US government can be very harsh on foreign born people like me, especially those with accents. They can write false information about you and accuse you of not being loyal to the USA; this will effectively eliminate any chance you might have had of working in most government jobs. That is what happened to me and probably many people like me. If you go to American politicians and ask them for help, which I have done, they pay you lip service and do not take you seriously because they view you as a foreigner with an accent, hardly their main constituent base.
The land of opportunity was nice for me and my family until I faced this problem with the US Government. Now is has become a nightmare where I live with the same discriminations I thought I had left behind me 30 years ago. Protection of individual rights is a cornerstone of the United States. Unfortunately, much of the government is crippled by bureaucratic systems without checks and balances.
My sincere hope is that the US Government; especially the Department of Defense will look at my case and correct the false accusation in my file so that I may work again.