J. asked me if I knew anything at all about getting people to the U.S. I thought it was a random question so I asked why he needed to know. The Team's intepreters (and many of the interpreters in Iraq) are actually Sudanese refugees. They speak English and Arabic and have found work as intepreters for American soldiers partly for the money, but also for the temporary safehaven from Iraqis (Shiites in particular).
Sudanese interpreters escaped a certain hell in Sudan, only to now find another in Iraq (in J.'s case, his interpreters are from the notorious Darfur region).
According to J., Sudan is seen as having supported Saddam and his
terrorist activities back in the 90's. Add to that the assassination
of the Grand Ayatollah's brother in Sudan, and you can see why they
have no support among Shiites. They were probably never "welcome" in
Iraq, but now that Saddam (a Sunni) is no longer in power, the Sudanese
refugees (of which there are apparently many in Iraq) are especially
unwelcome among the largest population of Iraq – Shiites – and have
been known to be kidnapped and murdered.
For now, J. and the Team are trying to shuffle their Sudanese
interpreters around by finding work for them at various Army camps.
But he has also been given the task of finding out if there is any hope
for getting them to a safer place (i.e., America or Canada). They
aren't officially from anywhere, so a passport is a pipe
dream. J. has contacted the Red Cross and the Embassy, but he expects
to be told to "file the proper paperwork" and never see a result.
Note: I remember reading that a good blog should be focused – that is, centered around something. I
guess this blog would fail such a litmus test. My life has a foot in
two worlds and it is impossible for me to not nod at all those sides of
me. Since marrying J., my vocabularly has expanded to include words I
never thought would be so relevant – Ayatolla, refugees, Muhajadeen. Ignorance really is bliss. I would give anything for that kind of peace again.