Abbadar – 12 Years Old in Jordan (refugee from Iraq)
My brother was killed eight months ago in Baghdad. He was 17. No one knows who did it. His body was found on a rubbish pile. That’s how we know he is dead. We left both of my older brothers behind in Iraq when we came to Jordan. Young men aren’t allowed into Jordan because they’re afraid young men will become terrorists. They let me in because I’m a child.
My other brother is still alive in Iraq, but he’s homeless. He works in a bakery and the boss lets him sleep in the storeroom. He calls us when he can and asks my father to send money. That makes my father cry, because he doesn’t have any.
At one time my father made a very good salary in Iraq. He was a 747 jumbo jet engineer. He’s very smart and knows how to make airplanes fly. But under sanctions, Saddam cut all salaries and my father was earning only a little bit of money for doing the same work. It wasn’t enough money to live on so our lives were very hard. Then he and my mother had a bad feeling that war was coming. It was going to go hard on Iraq. It cost them all the money they had to get visas for the three of us and we got here just before the bombing started.
This year Jordan let us into their public schools. The class I like best is the one where we learn English. If I learn enough English, maybe we can go to America. It might be better for my father’s heart if we went to America. His heart is bad and it got worse when we learned the news about my brother. He’s not able to work, so he has too much time to miss my brothers and to miss our old life.
So now, instead of being an important man with an important job, my father stays home and cries a lot because he doesn’t see how it will get any better.
NOTE: This is based on an interview by Deborah Ellis with Abbadar from the book Children of War.