Interpreter Mojo

Dear Linda.
I hope that you are doing well, I thought that you told me that you are diffrent Linda Wesson not from the peace project as we talked on the facebook. but any way I will be grateful if you can help me to pass this letter to who it may concern. and please if you can help me to get an expedite visa because my life in big danger. BUT please keep my real name secret.
Letter to:

President of United State of American (Barak Obama), Senators, United State ambassador in Baghdad (James F. Jeffrey), Leaders of American Army, United Nation, Civilian Society Organizations, Human Rights Organizations, American and International Media, Iraqi Refugee Assistance project, The List Project, The Peace Project and who ever can help us in this matter.

My name is (MOJO) my nickname, I am (30) years old, from (Iraq-Mosul), single, I have a college degree in chemistry science, and I worked for American Army for almost (five years and six months) as an interpreter.When first the American Army came to Iraq, I was so happy because they came to liberate us from Saddam regime, and they brought the freedom and democracy to my country (Iraq), so I decided to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I worked with American Army as an interpreter, and I was proud of doing my job to be as a linguist bridge between the American soldiers and Iraqi people, I was not listing to what the other Iraqis says that the American came to occupy Iraq.

During my work with the American Army I received several dead threat letters such as:

1)      My real name was found on Anti-American propaganda published by some terrorists groups in (Talafar/Mosul). The propaganda stated that if the interpreters on the list did not stop supporting Coalition Forces, they will be killed.

2)      In 2010 I received phone calls from unknown numbers they were saying: you are a (traitor, spy, American agent) we know who you are, and where you live, so either you will quit supporting the infidels (Americans), or we will harm you and your family.

3)      In June 2011, my (15) years old niece (my brother’s daughter) was kidnapped by her teacher from school, and convert her religion to Islam, and force her to marry her teacher who is about 29-30 years old.

Her father (my brother) was also working with American army as an interpreter in that time but he quit right after the incident to take care of rest of his family and start look for his daughter.

After that my brother reported what have happened to the local police and also he reported to the American Army but it was all useless, because the kidnapper was well protected by (Al-Sader) militia and no one could capture him.

After the kidnap for about a month my brother received a phone call from the kidnapper saying do not bother yourself for looking for her, you will never find your daughter, and the kidnapper said : we kidnapped your daughter because we warned you and your brothers to quit supporting the Americans but you did not listen to us.

I believe that my niece is dead because until now we have not heard anything from her, until present day we get threat phone calls and messages from the kidnapper.I have a copy of most of the police investigation paper works for kidnapping of my niece and I gave a copy of it to the American embassy in Baghdad during my visa interview.

My family is well-known in my Town that we are close friends to the Americans, because me and two of my brothers we were working for the Americans and we were, I can say the first people who start working with them in 2003 Mosul.

Because of the dead threats, we applied for the immigration program, in 2010 I applied for the SIV as the first step and because of my niece kidnapping situation, I contact the American embassy in Baghdad and I had an expedite visa interview in August/2011.During the interview I explained for consulate officer that me and my brothers in big danger and we get threats from the kidnappers, even that I possess about 12 recommendations and certificates of appreciation from high ranking officers in American army that shows how loyal I was in my job and for American army and it shows that I am poses no threat to national security or safety of United States. But the staff at embassy said: your visa will take at least 8 months to be issued.

The purpose behind me writing this letters is:

1)      Visa delaying.

2)      Dead threat that I face as an interpreters in Iraq, because the American left and we have no one to protect us now.

3)      Some militia statements such as (Moqtada Al-Sader), (Hezb Alla), (Asab Al-Haq) and (Jaesh Al-Mahdi) and their sympathizers that they will continue fighting the Americans who been left in Baghdad and who ever support them.

I believe that it is too easy for those militias to hunt us, because in 2009 during the security agreement between the Iraqi government and the American government we (interpreters) signed documents stated that we have to pay taxes to the Iraqi government, and I believe the reason behind that was; so the Iraqi government can have our information such as our full name, address, phone numbers, etc. by the way (interpreters were the only employees in Iraq that paid the taxes to Iraqi government until present day.

4)      It is hard for us to find job in Iraq and feed our families after the American left because people in Iraq they see us in different angle (traitors, agents, spies).

5)      Whoever knows that I was an interpreter they ask me those questions: why are you still in Iraq? Why your friends (Americans) left you behind? Are not you afraid to be killed by terrorists?

To be honest when I heard those questions it is really hurt my feelings, and makes me feel sorry that I participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

                                   Please AMERICANS DO NOT LEAVE US BEHIND…………
Kindest Regards
MOJO

Phone call from Jersey.

I was helping Timmy and we were installing a new range hood; the phone rang and I didn’t recognize the number, but I answered and I heard one of the Iraqi interpreters say,  “This is Don, ma’m.  I got here. I’m in the states now. I just got a phone and I wanted to tell you thank you.”.

It felt like one of the best times in my life.  Yeah, I think it IS.  Feels good.  You see, I don’t know if I’m helping the visa process at all for the interpreters…….but what I do know is that I am helping the interpreters while they wait that long and dangerous time.  This particular guy that called; he had been so very depressed and full of anxiety.  He did not trust that he was going to be brought to safety in America.  He had to wait and hear about the others that got killed and wonder if he was next.  I just kept sending my thoughts and prayers.

I guess the selfish truth is I feel good when I help others.

Afghan interpreter thinking ahead.

 

 

I’m an afghan interpreter who has worked with US Army since 2009,
Our lives are in danger like iraqis too, we can’t go home or do anything else… once the US army leave afghanistan then we will not be able to get another job, cuz we are considered as spy among the people…
I,ve applied for SIV COM Approval about 10 months ago but I’m not responed yet…
I’m requesting from US Government Officials to consider us as their friends and the people who were keys for the missions and pull us out of Afghanistan…
Thanks you very much…

My own comments: This guy Jack is wise to be worried. The murder of the abandoned Iraqi interpreters and even some unsuccessful attempts on their lives continues. The US government is not protecting their lives while it takes much too long to make the decision if they will be allowed into the United States or not.  It takes over a year on the average for the government to make that decision. Those that are refused to be brought to safety are not told why, although they are still marked for death…..after they have already risked their lives for years alongside American soldiers.

Other nations involved in the invasion of Iraq took their interpreters with them to safety when they withdrew troops.  America did not. As America did when they withdrew in the Vietnam War, and previous entry into Iraq, the those Iraqi natives that helped America were left behind to fend for themselves.  So this Afghani interpreter has heard what is happening to the Iraqi interpreters, and he sees the writing on the wall, and we should all see the writing on the wall and be outraged that this is being allowed to happen. Yet again.

I believe a translator or interpreter should be highly valued and protected.  They studied English, in many cases, in order to play a role in keeping peace.  Their identities should be protected, and yet the Pentagon at one time ordered the Iraqi interpreters to not wear masks, and the unit commanders also asked the “terps” not to wear masks so as not to “freak out” villagers as they came into different areas.  So common sense and general rules in the world of translation/interpretation were disregarded, as the value of these lives were also.

The Iraqi interpreters (and very probably the Afghani ones) prevented a lot of death on both sides of the conflict.  Soldiers have testified that their “terps” saved their lives on many occasions.  And yet most of the soldiers I have spoken to are afraid to have their names published even if they tell me they want their interpreters to be taken now to safety and sometimes write anonymous letters asking this .  They have been told to be quiet about this, so they write to me and tell me of their anxiety and guilt.

And what about you my fellow American?  I’m not so young and strong anymore, but there is no way I can be quiet about this.  If you ask me what you can do about it all I tell you is that you should call your representative and complain about it.  I don’t have a better idea at this point.  I really wish a group of people like those in the Occupy movement would get behind this……I don’t see now anyone can tolerate it.  I hope it is not because these people look different than many of us or have a different religion.

And what people in any country are going to trust Americans?  When are we going to learn??

And PLEASE go to thelistproject.org because that group has been working on this heartbreaking problem for a long time and show your support!!

 

Newest letter from an American soldier in support of Iraqi terps.

Ok here’s the deal folks. We (America) invaded Iraq on a good cause and asked locals to help us in our battle. They responded in numbers allowing us to utilize their english/Arab skills. Imagin what it would be like if someone invaded America and you joined forces with them. That Country left you back in America to deal with Americans that you disowned. I can imagine most of you would call him/her a traidor and that is ok because that is human. That is what these interpreters feel now. I was just on the phone with one who is threatening to flee to Europe because he is in fear for his life. B.L.U.F. (Bottom line up front) is that we used these people and left them there to deal with it. I know we never made promises and all of you will be in an uproar over my comments however, think about if it was your Son/Daughter….. We are all Human and deserve the right to a fair life and they will not get it there.

Proud Iraqi war vet and current U.S. Army Soldier!!!

Big THANK YOU to Judy Jenner of “TRANSLATION TIMES”

I sincerely appreciate a spot of attention given to the plight of the Iraqi interpreters by Judy Jenner in her blog published mainly directed to the world community of translators (and interpreters).  I may have won her affection when I wrote that I believe a good translator is worth their weight in gold.  And I definitely believe that to be true.  Here is the she wrote about the cause :

http://translationtimes.blogspot.com/2012/01/iraqi-interpreters-petition.html

Puzzling.

 

This is puzzling to me. A lump group of interpreters were recently denied their visas because their security checks didn’t clear.  I find it very strange that the security checks they had all during their service as interpreters for the military came back okay and yet the FINAL one now does not pass…..
I spoke to someone earlier today who told me that mention of this clouds the water for those whose Visas ARE being issued…. but I think it is only fair that these denied interpreters are told WHY they are being refused.  They have the glowing recommendations of United States military GENERALS behind them…… So why can’t someone tell us why these people are going to be left to die in Iraq; because that will happen to these people if they cannot find refuge.  They worked with America.  They are seen as traitors by extremists who will shoot them and their families too.  And why?  What is the reason?  Why is it a secret they cannot know?
rayan on  said:

 

Hi
my brother served for more than two years
and he got a lot of reccomendations from his officers
and he worked faithfully and face a lot of danger
and after that he got recognized by militia they stole the house we lived in
they threating of killing us so we escaped
and after 3 years of waiting
my brother was shocked he got rejected from SIV program in 8-2011
his wife was crushed after all the patience she had
she lived with her husband at her parents house
and we lived in my grandmother house
they had a two year beutiful son
so they had there dream crushed and my brother is waiting for his death sentence,
we lost our house we said ok
we lost our friends we said ok
we lost our families we said ok
we lost our country we said ok
after all of those okays we lost our hope
our door to survive
we lost our white new page in our life
we lost our future and our past and our present
all of that for nothing

we sacrficed a lot and in return we get denial.

More from Will Highsmith; with a note from Linda

 

To whom it may concern,

First, let me say this. I am no professional writer. With that being said, “Leave no man behind.” “Never leave a fallen comrade.” Two very powerful sentences to most in the military. You are taught from day one these phrases. The most important parts of those two sentences is this, no where does it say, Soldier, Marine, Sailor, or Airmen. It doesn’t even say leave no American, it says leave no man/comrade. Well, I will tell you this, we, I, have failed in this mission. There are Iraqi nationals left behind in Iraq as we speak, or displaced in other countries in exile, due to their traitorous work with the American war effort. Most of these are interpreters sometimes referred to as “terps”. These men and women fought alongside many Americans. In some cases coming to the defense of wounded Americans. Most have done more for America, than alot of Americans have. Yet they sit in the open, with no defenses, dying daily, or chased out of their homes.

I would like to tell you the story of one such patriot. His name is Ali Ibraheem Jalal, affectionately known as Ali grenade, or Tony Humvee. Those two nicknames do not do him justice. He got the nicknames from dangerous experiences he received while in Iraq. One specific time that he acted heroically, was the day of July 6th, 2003. It seems weird I would remember that date, but it is easy for me, it was my 21st birthday. On this day while escorting some contracting supplies though a narrow market street, we came under heavy gunfire. The AK-47 rounds ripped through the door and window of a dump truck ahead of me, tearing through the arms of Sgt. Anthony Mottas. As we medivac’d this wounded NCO, our commanding NCO, made plans to pursue the ambushers. This plan put us and our humvees down a very narrow side alley, only big enough for our vehicles to fit through. To anyone with combat experience this sounds bad. This is a kill zone.

For safety our commanding NCO ordered everyone out of the humvees except the drivers, so as not to all be killed in one humvee with a single grenade. With our entire squad dismounted with nothing but small arms, this left our roof guns, the M240B, without a man on them. This weapon is a roof mounted machine gun, that is more than able to even the score when heavily outnumbered. With our depleted numbers and safely in mind this weapon was useless. That is until our commanding NCO shouted get a man on that roof gun. To which Ali Grenade readily jumped in, charged the weapon, and stood there ready to risk his life to provide safety to that of his family, the American Soldiers walking in front of him. To any soldier worth his or her salt, you know that an open roof gun with no cover is one of the most dangerous positions to have,you also know that this is against the rules. You do not let an Iraqi do this, ever, but we did. We did this for one reason. Pure and utter trust in this man. The same man, that was allowed to sleep inside our forward operating base, alongside soldiers, in the safety of a concrete building.

He started living with us due to extremely frequent death threats on his family and himself, when he went home at night. To ensure the safety of his family he sacrificed holidays and hometime with his family. He knew that as long as he stayed away they would be safe. That was until there were no Americans to live with. When this happened Ali was granted asylum as a refugee in Jordan. This to escape the death squads roaming the streets looking for any and all American collaborators. Now as he sits, left behind, no way to meaningfully support his family, shut off from employment due to being labeled as a traitor among the arabs in Jordan. He must sit, and ponder, was all of this worth it, was all the work I have done, the sacrifices made, was any of this worth it? I think he made the same sacrifice that our soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen are praised for here in America. This man worked for more than 7 years never missing a day. Worked under extremely dangerous conditions for more than 7 years straight. He wasn’t able to come home after a long deployment. Nope because he was forgotten. To this I say shame on me, shame on all of us as Americans, and if you throw this letter away, or close the link you found with this attachment, without doing the slightest to help this cause, then shame on you too.

“Leave no man behind.” “Never leave a fallen comrade.” I really do not know if these sentences mean anything anymore. “All the citizens of a state cannot be equally powerful, but they may be equally free” -Voltaire. I hope this helps the cause in some way, because if it has not than I must count myself as one of those that didn’t try enough.

William Highsmith
disabled veteran
US Army 13f
Iraq 2003-2004

(Note from Linda: I would like to add that it struck a nerve in me when Will wrote about the death squads roaming the streets looking for any and all Iraqis who had worked with American troops, because most of the guys that I myself am in contact are those that are still in Iraq. They cannot even go out of their homes. Family members have to go to the store for them, and even then there is the fear that the family member may be kidnapped and killed, as this has already happened to some. This is all too terrible for words, and yet we must try to express the unfairness of this situation!!)

Letter of support for interpreter from William Highsmith.

So I am thinking about starting a Twitter campaign, along with a facebook campaign, and an additional letter writing campaign to Senator Bill Nelson, for help with the immigration process of Iraqi Nationals, more directly the interpretors, that helped in Iraq. I hope speed up the process of immigration for these patriots to America. Most of them have either been killed by jihadi brigades that labeled them as traders, or just left behind and forgotten. My very good friend, and that of many I served with in Iraq, has been left behind. This mans entire family was so threated that he was granted political asylum in Jordan. This same man, at one point, Took the helm of a roof mounted M240B after one soldier was incapacitated due to being shot through the arms, myself and the rest of the squad were dismounted in a tight market street with noone available to get on the roof gun. Ali without fear jumped right on it, to the delight our our Master Sergeant lol. This man served through fear, of being beheaded every day, so much that the threats and near death escapes became so much that he lived with us inside our american compound, sleeping in the same room as myself and many other soldiers. That is trust. Yet he is sitting behind years worth of redtape to be able to come here and live in a country he deserves. This man has done more for america, over the 8 years he served with US forces every day never having a day off, than most people I know, I am including myself in that number. Imagine working everyday, for 8 years, no days off. Now imagine doing that in a country that hates you, where you and your family face death each and every day. Real death, not that movie crap. All the while never backing down, or losing sight of what he thought was important. I hope his story will touch some of you and maybe encourage you to write a letter on his behalf to anyone that will listen. For more details on Ali Jalaljust ask me, or him.
View Post · 6 hours ago · 

INTERPRETER’S STORIES in their own words are one click away in black bar above.

I guess I’d better update. Many of the Iraqi interpreters who translated for the US troops (and helped in so many different ways), are still in Iraq, hiding from militias that have sworn to kill them. I urge everyone to call the president (202-456-1111) and leave a brief message asking him to do something to speed the process of removing these people to safety.

One of the best things I’ve heard of lately is that some of the interpreters and others that I have had contact with in the middle east are taking advantage of programs like the Near East and South Asia Undergraduate Exchange Program offered at http://nesaugrad.org/  .

I have my own ideas about why the interpreter’s  plight has been a low priority thing.  I must commend the President for sending a few more people to work on the visas to the embassy in Baghdad, if this is true, but there was a definite lack of foresight involved to create this whole mess. There is a definite avoidance of the issue now.

I do wonder how much the fear of radical Islam plays into all of this.  Many of the Muslims I have spoken with are as much or more afraid of radical Islam as Americans are.  And there is definitely something there to fear; but I think what a person should keep in perspective is that there are a large amount of Muslims already here in America.  Why would anyone want to keep out the relatively lower numbers of interpreters who worked alongside and risked their lives with American soldiers?  I think they have already proven themselves.

One of the interpreters was recently denied his visa because his background check apparently showed something unfavorable.  But he is not allowed to know what the exact reason is so that he might clear the matter up.  This denial is basically a death sentence for him, and I hope the matter can be cleared up or he can be assisted to move into a neighboring country.  He too must be relocated.

The interpreters are in all sorts of situations.  I do not know if any have been killed as yet (outside of the deaths of some during service to the US), because I don’t have contact with all of them.  I do know Al-Sadr (an extremist on the streets of Iraq unchallenged now) has promised to put nine bullets in each of them.  I have not heard for over a week from one who was still living in housing near one of the bases, very on edge.  He’d already had a brother kidnapped and been shot at several times.  I hope he has simply slipped away into another country instead of what I worry about.  Some of the interpreters are relatively safe.  They might not be found for years.  But why would you be willing to let someone take that chance after they made such a sacrifice to help America?

If you are worried that any of these guys could be be potential terrorists, please consider the terrible danger they endured in helping our troops already.  Also, before you are influenced by media’s fear-mongering when they report the few “honor killings” of family members by Muslims in the US, think about all the other murders that happen every day here.  They are almost always about “honor” of some sort too, whether they are crimes of passion or gang related.  American people have been known to go on shooting sprees, so don’t get influenced to think radical muslims are the only people capable of this.

There is danger in the world; but let it not be a matter of religion.  It is rather, a matter of sanity versus insanity. The world may always have its Osama bin Ladens, David Koresh’s and Jim Jones’s, but sanity can and will prevail if you are smart and strong enough to stand against ignorance in all of its forms.  The key is not so much to fight with it, but to encourage learning.  So go find out for yourself about your local Muslim community.  Chances are you are going to find intelligent people who moved to America for freedom and the opportunity to practice their religion without the pressures of extremists. They will want you to know that the extremists do not speak for them.