Audio Recording of Interview
A refugee from Iraq, Jihan discusses her experiences during wartime as a young child and her immigration to the United States. She discusses her experience as a Chaldean Catholic, witnessing war in Iraq, financial struggles during the process of seeking refuge, and how access to services and resettlement assistance has changed over time.
Other interviews of this person can be found below:
Narrator: Jihan Daman
Date: October 28, 2020
Location: Michigan (Virtual)
Summary: A refugee from Iraq, Jihan discusses her experiences during wartime as a young child and her immigration to the United States. She discusses her experience as a Chaldean Catholic, witnessing war in Iraq, financial struggles during the process of seeking refuge, and how access to services and resettlement assistance has changed over time.ancial Struggles, Politics, Education, Language, Immigration Process, Discriminaton, Violence, Family, Pandemic, Career, Future
Section 1: 0:00-07:51
Religion - Identifies as a Chaldean Catholic
War - Witnessed 1.5 years of the war between Iran and Iraq and feared that brothers would be drafted
Post-war Journey - Arrived in Greece with the help of the Red Cross; sought refuge in America.
Financial Struggles - She had to work even as a child while staying in Greece.
Politics - They tried to recruit her father to join Saddam Hussein’s Party, but he was not interested.
Education - Lost several years of schooling while waiting to be granted refuge.
Language - Could not speak English when she started ninth grade at age 17
Section 2: 07:51-19:29
Immigration Process - Did not have access to services because Iraqis were not considered refugees at the time.
Politics - Values the freedoms in America and cannot see herself living anywhere else.
Discrimination - In Iraq, she feared to express her religion for fear of persecution.
Section 3: 19:29-27:41
Violence - Witnessed explosions and air attacks as a child in Iraq
Family - Most of her family left Iraq and resettled elsewhere after 1990.
Section 4: 27:41-41:46
Religion - Relied on Catholic faith to persevere through struggles.
Religion - Experienced first communion in Iraq and attended a Chaldean Church in Detroit after immigrating.
Pandemic, Religion - Before COVID-19, she was a dedicated volunteer at the church and went to Bible study.
Career - Wanted to use her background in psychology to help refugees experiencing trauma, so she established two agencies to help people here and in Iraq.
Section 5: 41:46-52:33
Immigration Process - More services and resettlement help available today than when she immigrated.
Politics - However, Trump had made it more difficult for people to immigrate by reducing the number accepted.
Discrimination - Experienced racial discrimination and xenophobia as she interacted with her neighbors.
Section 6: 52:33-1:00:35
Discrimination - People should get to know each other and refugees instead of making generalizations and stereotypical judgments.
Politics, Pandemic - COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter movement have indicated a need for justice.
Politics, Future - She has little hope going into the presidential election because of limited trust in the candidates.