An Oral History Project

Refugee Interviews


Under 30
Over 30
Southern Iraqi
Northern Iraqi
Central Iraqi
Wijida Naeem Maryoush Sabean

Wijida Naeem Maryoush is a Sabean from the south of Iraq. She worked as a physical education teacher for primary school before fleeing Iraq due to sectarian violence against Sabeans.

Imman Ackhmed, Keif Ali Kadham, Omar Ali Kadam, Ali Al-Soudani

Imman Ackhmed (Mother), Keif Ali Kadham (Daughter), Omar Ali Kadam (Son), Ali Al-Soudani (Husband)


Nour Nouri Mosawy is a recent graduate from Baghdad University, College of Medicine.

Nidal is a mother of three. Her husband was deported from Amman. Her children had quit school to support the family working in a shoe factory.

Hadiya Hussein is a novelist. Her novel, Beyond Love, was translated into English and is published by Syracuse University Press in 2013.

Hadiya Hussein is a novelist. Haydia discusses the difficulties writers had under Saddam with freedom of expression as well as the way art/fiction is an important way to arrive at the truth.


Layla Abrahim Salim‘s husband collaborated with the US military by locating and delivering over weapon stashes. His life is threatened.

Baida’s husband, an Iraqi-Canadian who worked in oil, was killed in a bomb. Baida is unable to gain asylum to Canada, although her daughter has been accepted.

Iptisam’s brother was house-sitting for her when her family left Iraq. He was executed by a Sunni group. She is raising her children alone with no possibility of returning.

Gaidaa’s husband was sent back to Iraq by the immigration officers two years prior. She has not heard of or from him since. Gaidaa works as a cigarette sales woman.

Maysson Al-Hathi

Maysson was a researcher for elementary education. She works for various charity organizations assisting refugees in Amman.

Sahara Al-Aseel is an Iraqi Anchorwoman who was very prominent during Saddam’s reign. She discussed the plight of journalism in Iraq and how she, as a professional woman, has been treated before and during the war

Sahara Al-Aseel is an Iraqi Anchorwoman who was very prominent during Saddam’s reign. She discussed the plight of journalism in Iraq and how she, as a professional woman, has been treated.

Wardeyah Barakeh

Wardeyah Barakeh

Dr. Al-Jawad taught religious studies at the University of Baghdad. She discusses the challenges academics faced with the fall of Saddam as well as the “brain drain” in Iraq.      –



Sahra Kamil Mohama

Sahra Kamil Mohama

Rismia Hassain

Rismia Hassain lives with her son, of Dr. Usama’s family. She reflects on her desire to go to Mecca.

Rafel Mowafeq Saed Rasha Sami Abed

Rafel Mowafeq Saed is a Sabean from Diyala whose husband was kidnapped. She now lives with her family and sister-in-law Rasha Sami Abed

Randa Hirmiz Polis

Najia Ahmed

Najia Ahmed

Muna Ali

Muna Ali  

Hania Mahmoud Al-Waidy

Hania Al-Obaidi

Sanna Christian

Sanna Christian and her brother worked for the United Nations in Baghdad, which was bombed Aug 19th, 2003. Sanaa’s family received death threats because they worked “with Americans”

Laila Habib Aziz

Laila Habib Aziz

Auna Jabber is a Sabean whose sixteen year old son was kidnapped.

Allah Hamad    




Soha Mehsen Hasan works as a cigarette saleswoman. Her husband was killed by Saddam for evading military service. Soha talks of the dire circumstances of  women who sell street goods.

Afrah Fawzi Jassim is a divorced mother of a five-year-old daughter. She mentions the way men proposition her (as a woman without a man to accompany her).

Majida Hasan Mujemer

Majida Hasan Mujemer is a widow with four daughters. Two of the girls work to support the family.

Majda S. Mohammed

Majda S. Mohammed is a journalist and poet. Her son was kidnapped and tortured.

Leila Ziad Jarah

Leila Ziad Jarah is a widow. She has an adult disabled son living with her.

Khawla Ali Mahmoud

Khawla Ali Mahmoud is a mother of four boys. She left Baghdad due to the sectarian violence.

Fahima Jabbar Nadir

Fahima Jabbar Nadir is one of five siblings. Three of the five are deaf mutes whom she translates for. She and her mother discuss the challenges of being a young adult refugee.

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Abir Jabbar Mohammed   is a newly wed with one child. Her husband suffers from epilepsy.


A Ansom is a thirty-four year old who worked as a translator for the US military after her mother and sisters were killed from a roadside bomb. She talks of the rejection and death threats.

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Amira Saddam Saif is a Sabean.