Thursday, June 26, 2008

The In T View: Iraqi Translator, An Interpreter At War

In this In T View, we meet the Iraqi Translator, a twenty-something Iraqi male studying computer science, but more widely known for his role as an Interpreter serving with the Coalition forces and Iraqi Army, and blogging about it at Iraqi Translator's Life.

The Iraqi Translator was against the US invasion of Iraq, but believes the Americans should remain in Iraq until the job is finished, and while, he's angry over the events of Abu Gharib, Haditha, and Ramadi, he doesn't blame the American people...

MG: Hello Iraqi Translator, welcome to the In T View. What's your favorite flavor of Ice Cream?

Iraqi Translator: Hey Mister Ghost(lol), how do you know I like ice cream!!! To put this question in the beginning, you surprised me. Honestly, I Fall in love with strawberry ice cream.

MG: Tell me something about you, that you are really good at?

Iraqi Translator: I'm really good about anything related with Internet and computers.

Why did you become a translator with the Coalition and Iraqi forces?

Iraqi Translator: I have faced a lot of obstacles during my studying, I remembered one day I hadn't pocket money to go college, in addition, when I went to and met my friend over (there), I saw them jobless and everyone looking for any way to get immigration or asylum to any country. When I (came) back from Syria, I was trying to find any job that help me continuing my study, but I failed.

At the same time, I've seen my relatives and my friends working in companies even when they have less qualification than me, and the reason was public relationships. One day, during (I) went home from my college, someone gave me a newspaper called "Baghdad Now" and I saw (an) advertisement about this work. At that time I had decided to join (the) more than 10,000 members and work with them as a translator.

MG: What has been the most dangerous part of your job so far?

Iraqi Translator: In my case, if someone recognize me, that will be the most dangerous part, actually that means the game is over. I don't care about IED's (Improvised Explosive Devices) and EFB (magic IED made in Iran) or VBIED(Vehicle Bomb Improvised Explosive Devices) or clashes here and there, as (I) care about someone see me.

MG: And how close have you come to death?

Iraqi Translator: I think I'm (I mean the interpreter) the closest one to the death, even more close than American soldier, he has weapon and I'm not, he is close to the death, just when he goes (on) mission, but I'm close to the death, even when I go home.

MG: You've indicated at your blog, Iraqi Translator's Life, that the Americans don't trust you, "Spies in American view," you say. Can you give us some examples of how this lack of trust makes itself known?

Iraqi Translator: After the famous explosion that happened in Mosul by a translator, the Americans changed the treating way with translators. The new rules set: No cell phone, No PX/Bx sometimes, and escort required in the most of bases. The funny thing, when he asked you to take off your shoes!!!! in some bases, and all these rules don't happen with the Indian or Fiji persons. But sometimes I give them the excuses to do that, if Iraqis have no dignity inside his country and with his government, how can Americans respect him and treat him with respect.

MG: And you mention that your fellow Iraqis, see you as a "traitor." Can you highlight some of their reactions to you?

Iraqi Translator: Let me (be) honest with you and tell you the biggest reaction against us: What do you say when you see this sentence written by paints (graffiti) on the walls of neighborhoods: "Killing to agents...Killing to traitors" That the clearest thing you can see it directly by your eyes.

MG: What was your life like before the war? A happy life, a sad life, a life lacking in freedom and opportunities?

Iraqi Translator: A life lacking in freedom and opportunities.

You lived through 13 difficult years of UN sanctions against Iraq. Did you find that during this time frame, Iraqi culture changed?

Iraqi Translator: Certainly, the Iraqi culture changed during that time, but Saddam has not allowed any one to show up that changing, but that happened after 2003, and all people around the world has seen that changing by robbing and destroying and burning and killing operations.

For instance, in the book, Voices Of Resistance: Muslim Women On War, Faith & Sexuality, Ms. Nermin Al-Mufti says this about the period of Iraqi sanctions: ...the most important thing we have lost is our value scale. Our values are now upside down. During the sanctions many people got involved with smuggling and other illegal and immoral activities in order to make money, and through such activities have accumulated some measure of wealth. Such illegal activities are so commonplace now that they are affecting the dominant moral values of our society. Did the sanctions drive the Iraqis into becoming a less moral and ethical people?

Iraqi Translator: I agree with her. The accumulations between 1991 and 2003 are enough to drive the Iraqis into becoming a less moral and ethical people.

MG: Did the US have the right to invade and occupy Iraq?

Iraqi Translator: Nobody has the right to displace a family from their house whatever the justifications, take that example as an answer among countries. Of course, U.S. had no right to do that.

MG: In your opinion, after the events of the last five years, was the war justified?

Iraqi Translator: Hell no.

MG: In the last sixty years or so, your fellow Iraqis have basically run out (chased away) the Jews, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Armenians, Greeks, Sabaeans/Mandaeans, etc... Are the Iraqis an intolerant people?

Iraqi Translator: After 2003, Yes , they are.

MG: We're frequently told by the Iraqi bloggers that Iraqis are a secular group of people, but the last election seemed to showcase an Iraq, where the Shia voted for Shia candidates, the Sunni for Sunnis, and the Kurds for the Kurdish parties. So, are the Iraqis really truly a secular people?

Iraqi Translator: Yes, they were a secular people but nowadays, I don't think so, especially the Iraqi people inside Iraq.

Among all the Politicians and alleged Leaders in Iraq, who is the biggest thief and liar, and why?

Iraqi Translator: Strange question!!! , I think all of them are angels!!!!!!!!!!! (lol)

MG: Let's talk about the Green Zone, a place you seem to have some familiarity with. There have been rumors of a legendary brothel or brothels in the Green Zone? Have you heard anything about this and are the rumors true?

Iraqi Translator: Actually, there are no rumors at all !!! because that is the truth, a lot of brothels in the GZ, from all nationalities, just let me know sir: what is your favorite flavour of .........? and I'll try hard to get your order, even if your request (is) outside Green Zone!!!(they said that, not me).

MG: So, what does the future hold for you? Will you stay in Iraq or will you seek a Visa to come to the United States as suggested by Neurotic Iraqi Wife?

Iraqi Translator: It's not easy to go to States, I need one of these things to go to states as Department Of State said (1000000$, American spouse, (Neorotica help) General signature (lol)). I think as Neorotica said in her blog, we need a lot of persons like Col. M, and unfortunately you cannot find easily person like Col. M.

Of course, if there is a chance to go to states, I'll never lose it but when I've been starting this work, I put 2 plans to end this story except the VISA issue, when any of these plans happen, I'll retire!!! from this job and I'll publish my civilian blog without any worry from emails get to my inbox and trying to fall me in the trap.

Finally I'd like to say: thanks to you and to my Godmother Neorotica for her help and support.

We thank the Iraqi Translator for a nice In T View.

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