Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Food assistance for Kasem and his family - March 12 09

Kasem and his wife, Zaineb have two sons - Mohammed - 12 and 6 year old Thualfekir.

Kasem is an artist - a graduate of a cultural university - and their flat is filled with his paintings. He's set up his easel outside the door to their flat on an interior balcony.

They fled Baghdad in 2006 after Kasem was severely injured from a suicide bomb and militia attack. He and four other artist friends were walking down the street in Karada on, as Kasem told us, "the most famous day when there were five car bombs". Kasem and one of his friends escaped with only bullet wounds. (one of those bullets is still lodged in his leg). The three others were killed in the attack. The family left Iraq a month later when Kasem had healed enough to travel.

They have been told that they will resettle soon to the US. They hope it is very soon as they sold all of their furniture and belongings to have the money to move to their current apartment and to pay two months' rent. The rent is a modest 150JD per month but they cannot pay this with the 100JD they receive as their monthly grant from UNHCR. If they are not resettled by the time these two months have passed, they are not sure what they will do.

I asked Kasem how things in Iraq were different between before the invasion and its current state.

"Things were bad for all the years. They were bad under Saddam
but they are much worse now"