I worry a lot about the Iraqi native interpreters that my government’s military left behind in Iraq to fend for themselves amid death threats. My husband wakes up at three in the morning and sees me on the internet and says, “you need to sleep”. Well of course I need to sleep. I know that.
But you see, it’s another time of day in Iraq, and someone may need to talk. I only got five hours of sleep in two days, so I was pretty tired and could barely hold my head up and type when I got a message yesterday; an interpreter’s home was visited by three armed gunmen. The interpreter was not found and thankfully the gunmen didn’t hurt the family. So the interpreter had to leave. He could stay with another relative for a little while, but not long.
I was trying to hold my head up straight and make coherent sentences then…. so I logically decided to message several other people who know a lot more about Iraq than I do. A national reserve soldier girl (Kimberly Frier) and an Iraqi interpreter (Ali Jalal) in hiding in Jordan. And I KNEW the endangered interpreter was in good hands and my head hit the pillow and I went out like a light. When I woke up I learned that it was arranged for the interpreter to stay with a kind soul in Iraq that doesn’t even know the guy.
Such a relief now, to have this kind of proactivity among the group of Iraqi interpreters and some concerned soldiers I am in contact with. But the interpreter could as well have been killed. Some ARE being killed, and some of these we will never hear of, because they may not have internet access. But the ones that do have internet access sometimes find the facebook group where I visit with them and there I wait with them. They are in hiding and cannot go outside. They get frustrated and depressed. They struggle to keep their love for America alive, fluctuating between feelings of being betrayed and hope. They love the soldiers that they bonded with and miss them but don’t hear from them much if at all. And I tell them that if they cannot hope I will keep hoping FOR them. And I keep praying.
Ali Jalal that I mentioned above, is featured in this newspaper story written by Adam Kealoha Causey: