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Posts Tagged ‘immogrant’

Photo: David L. Ryan/Globe Staff.
Aminullah Faqiry, newly arrived with his family in Rhode Island, was an interpreter for the US military, in Afghanistan. He talks with Edward Fitzpatrick about his life there and his sorrow about the failure of 20 years of fighting the Taliban.

Because I’ve volunteered with refugees for several years, I know firsthand that these people do not leave jobs, friends, and family in their home country because they prefer to live in the United States or any other country. They leave because the situation at home is untenable. And it breaks their hearts.

Consider the sadness of the former military interpreter who recently arrived with his immediate family in Rhode Island, forced to abandon other family members who are now in grave danger. Ed Fitzpatrick, a reporter for the Boston Globe, talked to him.

He writes that Aminullah “Faqiry said he was overcome with emotion as he prepared to board the plane to leave Afghanistan, and people began looking at him, wondering why he wasn’t happy to be escaping an incredibly precarious situation. But he knew the source of his tears.

“ ‘I am a very patriotic person,’ Faqiry explained. ‘I cried for my people, for my country, for the system being destroyed, for so many sacrifices that we had made.’

“He said he cried for the family members he was leaving behind — for his mother and father, who are struggling with health problems, and for the widow and the children of his brother, who was killed by the Taliban. …

“He said he was crying because the Afghan people had been ‘liberated’ before the Taliban arrived.

“ ‘Women were able to go to school, and a girl was able to walk on the streets free without tension and without fear,’ he said. ‘Afghanistan was growing up. We were on the move to compete in the world.’ …

“But now, he said, it was clear ‘We were going to go back — my country was going to be thrown back like 50 years. … We are leaving everything behind to the Taliban, who we fought for 20 years and who are a terrorist organization. … We were not able to hold on — we had fallen. … I wanted my country and my people to have been peaceful. It just didn’t happen,’ Faqiry said. ‘I was crying because we lost everything.’ ”

But as you know, people do what they have to do. Most refugees regroup, find or create work to support their families, and give back to their host countries. Today, in Virginia, former refugees are offering a warm welcome to Afghans.

Story Hinckley reports at the Christian Science Monitor, “For many Americans, it’s difficult to imagine what the tens of thousands of newly arrived Afghan refugees are going through. 

“But Arshad Mehmood doesn’t have to imagine. He knows. Only seven years ago, Mr. Mehmood was in their shoes, fleeing Pakistan. He describes being kidnapped and tortured by the Taliban for being a local politician. 

“Now, as the regional coordinator for a national nonprofit, Mr. Mehmood as well as his team in northern Virginia, many of whom are refugees themselves, is helping these new arrivals with everything from finding apartments to translating school enrollment forms from English to Pashto. They have assisted more than 80 Afghan families over the past three months and expect to help almost 200 by the end of the year.

“And while this practical aid is important, says Mr. Mehmood, it’s not what newly evacuated Afghan allies need most right now. That would be encouragement and empathy. And here in Virginia, Afghans are finding this support in local communities – especially from the refugees who came before them.

“ ‘English was my third language, but I did it. We live a good life here,’ says Mr. Mehmood. His wife, who is a manager at T.J. Maxx, feels welcomed to wear her hijab on the job. His daughter will start her first year of college this fall, and his son is a defensive star on his American football team.’ ”

Read on. There is light in darkness. Perhaps after reading these stories, you will find a way to help a refugee family. And if like blogger Milford Street you already do help refugees, please share a word about your experience.

More at the Monitor, here, and at the Globe, here.

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