Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How Can You Not Hate the United States?

My husband came to the United States in 1997. He is from Iraq. He was a de facto refugee. I will give you the short, unemotional version.

During the first Iraq war, he and his family sought shelter from the bombing in his father’s basement. In Iraq the homes are made of stone and the doors are solid wood. One time a piece of shrapnel blew their front door off the hinges and into the foyer.  Fortunately, no one was nearby. The bombs were often unexpected and close – the blasts sometimes relocated people and furniture around the rooms.

His mother suffered from diabetes. She required insulin. Under the United Nations sanctions against Iraq, insulin was considered dual purpose (potential for use other than the intended purpose), so insulin was not available.

His mother got gangrene on her foot, a common symptom of untreated high diabetes. The doctors had no choice but to surgically remove her foot. She went into a diabetic coma and the gangrene spread to her leg. The doctors wanted to surgically remove her leg in an attempt to save her from the gangrene, but the risk of death was high due to the coma and the sanctions prevented even the hospital from having insulin. They decided to operate. She died on the operating table.

Over the next few years my husband was able to escape from Iraq to the United States. We met and married a couple of years after he arrived. It took almost ten years for him to become a citizen, as was the case for many Arabs and Muslims following 9/11, but eventually he did.

We celebrated.

Within a few months there was an election and he voted for the first time.

Again, we celebrated.

I asked my husband once how he did not hate the United States since the sanction and bombing, both led by the United States, caused so much suffering for him and his family, even resulting in his mother’s death.

He responded, “Because the United States was the only country that took me in.”

1 comment:

  1. Americans have some magic that all people around the globe like them. There are good and people wherever one travels but I care about my self to be genuine and kind with others regardless of their appearance, gender, race ....