Time did not stand still.
I did some traveling since I last wrote (attending two graduations and a wedding) but I always keep in touch with the applicants for special immigrant visas who are waiting in Iraq mostly in great danger. I pray every day for them.
Just a few days ago one of the interpreters’ home was riddled with bullets. It was the bravery of a neighbor who shot his own gun at the shooters and scared them away. I will post pictures of some of the damage here. The bullet holes do not look huge, as the damage made by a bomb would appear, but bullets are indeed deadly and it is fortunate the ex-interpreter and his mother were not killed.
Today I spoke with an employee of Global Linguistic Solutions…….I won’t use her name in case she were to get in trouble, but she had something to share with me about the “security checks” the interpreters are going through. First of all, there is a language and cultural barrier; and these interpreters go into the interviews VERY worried about the outcome. If they do not answer a question correctly they will be blacklisted (denied a visa) and stuck in Iraq. That is what happened to the owner of this house that had this “drive-by” shooting. He did not answer a question “correctly”.
The interpreters are asked “loaded” questions like, “Do you know any terrorists groups in Iraq?”. Bear in mind the interpreters may get confused and think they are being asked if they actually personally KNOW terrorist groups. Also bear in mind the interpreter’s life relies on his answer. His immediate instinct might be to say NO, (because he is not a terrorist), but that would be the wrong answer. That answer would be considered deceptive and it is enough to blacklist him. Everyone know there are terrorists groups in Iraq so the correct answer should be yes. But it is a very confusing question, especially to someone who speaks English only as a second language. Consider your own self communicating with a Mexican immigrant who speaks pretty darned good English, but STILL makes errors now and then. The Iraqi interpreters are much the same; they speak English well (considering); but not PERFECT.
The woman at Global Linguistics Solutions had criticism for the way these interviews are handled as such. She said she is certain that a high percentage of innocent interpreters are being fouled by these security tests. I am sure of it also and it makes me sad beyond words.