Skip to the Content

A New Home

Time 0:04:28

Transcript:

When Israel attacked the people of Palestine, they took my parents town first. If they didn’t leave, they would be killed. Just before my parents crossed the border, my dad was shot in his leg. An organization helped them to cross the border into Iraq. It’s the same language, the same religion, but still they have different customs, different accents- my parents had to start a new life. They lost everything in Palestine.

I was born in Iraq and I had four sisters and seven brothers. For me it was a beautiful life with my whole family around me. We had no citizenship there, but the government helped us to live and work and study. We felt it was our home. But still our documents only said we are Palestinian from Iraq, so when Iraq was destroyed in war by America no other country would accept us. After Baghdad fell, Jordan opened its borders. I was single, and I could leave quickly by myself. 10 days later, the border closed.

When I saw the camp, I was surprised. There is no grass, no electric, just a tent a tent a tent. All is dust, in your eyes, your mouth. It was far from the town, and we are not allowed to go out of the camp, not allowed to work. It seemed like a prison. If you need to go to the hospital, the police take us there and back. Some people are killed in the camp by snakes, by scorpions, or from a tent fire. In Canada, if you need to go to have a good time they take their family and friends out with a tent. But in the camp, our home was a tent. If it storms, if it is raining, our home is destroyed. And we need to build it again. We are not safe in the camp but it is more safe than to go back to war.

For 2 years we asked the United Nations to understand the people of Palestine. Thousands in the camp went back to Iraq. They preferred to die in Iraq than to die in the desert waiting to be a refugee. There are only 150 of us left in the camp. Finally, for the first time in the world, Palestinians were accepted as refugees. After that all countries started to meet us, to listen to us, to understand that we are not guilty people, we are human. We need peace and safety. One of these countries is Canada. I was lucky. She accept me. She took me and I found a new home.

The first place I came was St. John’s. The Association for New Canadians introduced me, hugged me, helped me to get my documents. You know when you came to a new place- people help you, they are friendly with you, they accept you like you are from their family. You feel like you didn’t change your home, you came home.

Return to St. John's gallery >