Tuesday, April 22, 2008


My name is Nuaaf Al-sadoon, I am 10 years old, and I live with my father and my mother.

We left my country in 2006 because the states of security is bad. I don't want return to see another bombing like I saw when I was on my way home from school. I am so sad that I missed one year of study.

I face some problems in Syria. In school, the slangy language was a change. I couldn't understand my teacher but now it's OK.

Chat w/Ross School, April 16

Excerpts from chat between students in Damascus and students at the Ross School in E. Hampton, New York, on Wednesday, April 16.

students from Ross school
Ross school: hello
Damascus: hello
Ross school: hello my name is laura
Damascus: hello this is david (David is Alaa's nickname)
Ross school: do you go to school?
Damascus: no I doesn't.
Ross school: do you have a job?
Damascus: no, I am not allowed to work here
Ross school: how do you get money?
Damascus: my father, even though is old, he still works. He is a sort a mediator to get goods in and out of Iraq.
Ross school: how old is you?
Damascus: I am 17 years old.
Damascus: Marwan and Noora came in.
Damascus: Marwan is 19 years old , Nora is 20 years old .
Ross school: I was wondering how did you feel when the US invaded Iraq ?
Damascus: we were very frustrated
Damascus: and sad.
Ross school: do you have any questions for us ?
Damascus: how does it feel to be a student in the US? how does it work?
Damascus: Marwan asked
Ross school: we are in a private school which works differently than the public schools here
Ross school: it's expensive, but many people get financial aid
Ross school: www.ross.org is the website if you want to check it out
Ross school: it's privately founded by one woman.
Ross school: we get to travel to many countries including Mozambique, Greece, Brazil, and Italy.
Damascus: are there many difficulties in terms of the text books themselves?
Ross school: are any of you going to Syrian schools?
Damascus: Marwan goes to school here.
Ross school: are you okay in the schools ?
Damascus: Marwan says that the text books her are different than the ones in Iraq, so it is hard for me.
Damascus: their treatment to us in general is not very good, but i am not different than anybody else.
Ross school: when the war ends will any of you go back to iraq or do you prefer to stay away from there?
Marwan: I am not optimistic about the situation and i don't think i will go back anytime soon.
Nora: I don't think, as long as the American forces there, that the situation will change for the better.
Ross school: how do they spend time in Damascus?
Marwan: I read as well as do other things for fun
Damascus: I like to write too.
Marwan: recently I wrote a play and it was performed yesterday.
Damascus: David says that he spends most of his time on the internet chatting
Ross school: are you chatting with people in Baghdad or other places?
Damascus: he chats with mostly people in Turkey because he speak Turkish.
Ross school: do you feel animosity towards all Americans? what can we do as students to help you?
Damascus: We know that the American people are good and many oppose to this. We don't like the American troops.
Noora: What do YOU think about the US Army ?
Ross school: we don't think that the situation has been handled well.
Ross school: the soldiers aren't culturally sensitive or trained, so it's pretty tough
Ross school: we don't understand why the soldiers are really there
Ross school: we don't even get the real picture of what's happening over there
Ross school: except in this class we see what's really happening and it's much different than what we see on the news daily
Damascus: in the US we thought there is a freedom of press and you can get the reality a lot easier than we could
Ross school: there is but there is A LOT of censorship against the media
Damascus: Us leaving out homes reflects that the situation is bad
Damascus: Marwan is surprised to know that there is censorship
Ross school: the major news stations chose to edit the stories so as not to "upset" people. The real whole story is out there, it just needs a little extra work to be found
Ross school: many people focus on news about celebrities here over the situation in Iraq
Damascus:Nora: That is funny, so people don't want to see the situation they created in Iraq, while we live in it. How do we suppose to feel now
Ross school: most people feel that they are not a part of it or the decision to invade Iraq
Ross school: so they chose to avoid the situation
Ross school: a lot of people block it out because they don't want to feel responsible, we don't really know what to do as civilians.
Damascus: we are very happy to meet with you guys
Ross school: another thing, we were told the wrong reasons for why the US invaded in the first place
Ross school: okay we have to go as well, our class is almost over. it was very nice having the opportunity to speak with you
Ross school: shukran
Damascus: we are thankful as well. hope to talk to you again. Peace upon you!
Damascus: we have to go now
Damascus: bye!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Five years now... Iraqi Artists in Exile

Under the title "Five years now... Iraqi Artists in Exile" the French Cultural Center with cooperation with Unites Nations High Commissioner for Refugees sponsored an event marking the fifth anniversary for the occupation of Iraq. Iraqi Artists carried out the event and perform music and clown shows. From my side, I was able to coordinate with one of the volunteers at the center and reserve seats for Nativewithoutanation kids.

The event was of two parts; one in the morning for kids where Iraqi clowns drew a smile on the children faces. The one in the afternoon was for adults. I was able to get the youth to get into that too. Iraqi musicians and singers from all parts of Iraq played very nice Iraqi music. It was a very nice day.
The event took place on April 4th

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Questions from Dorie Miller Academy's students, via Email contact with Firas

US students: Do you hate Americans?

Iraqi students: We don't like the American Army because before they came to Iraq, we never felt scared to go schools and we lived in our country and homes.

US students: Was Saddam a great leader in Iraq?

Iraqi students: We can't say that Saddam Hussein was good, but we know that we never faced terrorism in Iraq, or saw dead bodies in our streets.

US students: How do you feel about having to leave your home country?

Iraqi students: We feel we are not vital, not alive. We wish to go back to our beloved

Homes, Persona things, schools, teachers and friends, as soon as possible

US students: Do you like where you live now?

Iraqi students: We like to live and go to school in our home country more. We are here because we have no other option not because we like it.

US students: Do you think this war will end?

Iraqi students: Of course this war will end. It is just we don't know when.

US students: If the war does end, will you go back to Iraq?

Iraqi students: It is out parents who can decide if we should go back to Iraq. If we ran out of our savings, of course we will go back.