“When the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) occupied parts of Iraq in 2014, they robbed us of life. This was the main reason we decided to emigrate to Germany. In 2018, my husband and I managed to join our son who had emigrated to Germany with his uncle three years before. My husband and I emigrated regularly, but my two younger children did not get approval at the time, so they stayed in Iraq. One of the hardest moments of my life was leaving my country and the homeland of my ancestors and going to Germany. I left everything behind, including my other children.
The trip to Germany, however, was very easy and I felt comfortable because we had emigrated legally and never had to experience camp life, unemployment or economic hardship. We were not stressed because there was no risk of being rejected; we received our residency permit soon after and everything was perfect.
In Germany, I fulfilled my dream of enrolling in school and holding a pen. I had not received any education in Iraq because my father did not have the means to send me to school, although I had always wanted to learn. Before arriving in Germany, I was illiterate; a few months into our arrival, I could read and write, and had achieved my dream without having to ask for favors – for free.
But I was terrified for my children who stayed behind in the camp because it was not safe for them. Every time there was a fire in the camp, they were so scared, so my husband used to travel back and forth between Germany and Iraq to check on them, as well as his mother.
Eventually we decided to return to Iraq for good because we could not leave his mother alone, and she was sick. The immigration laws in Germany do not allow a mother to be reunited with her adult son, so we had no other choice. It is part of our tradition to take care of the elderly; it was our duty to return. We left our lives in Germany for her.
On 25 October 2020, I returned with my family to Iraq.
For those who can study, get a certificate and build a stable future, there is nothing better than one’s homeland. Nothing is more beautiful than being with family in our homeland. Had we not been tortured by ISIL, we would never have left, even if we were poor. Home is the most precious thing one can have, and even if you live in a camp, you feel psychologically at ease among your family and your people.
My greatest concern now is my children’s future. This worry is motivating me to look for work every day, so they can have a better future; I will strive for that as long as I live.”
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