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Iraqi refugees reach Portland, solidarity group responds

Iraqi war refugees have begun to reach Portland and they need our help.
Press Release
7/22/08
Iraqi refugees reach Portland, Solidarity group responds.
Portland, Oregon U.S.A.
War refugees from Iraq are beginning to arrive in Portland this week. Over a dozen men, women, and children are traveling from refuges centers in Jordan and Syria. They are some of the few whom the U.S. Government, in cooperation with the United Nations has allowed in. Some of these people became refugees before the 2003 illegal American invasion and occupation of Iraq. The Portland Iraqi Solidarity Committee is calling on Portlanders opposed to the rogue regime in Washington to show solidarity with these Iraqi refugees.
"We need physical and political support" said Zahra Alkabi, founder of the Portland Iraqi Solidarity Committee. "Housing is the number one priority, then perhaps house hold goods, and driving the refugees around. Increasing the size of the Portland Iraqi Solidarity Committee is also a priority."
Zahra, 38 years old, is herself an Iraqi refugee from Baghdad. Her story is typical of the hardship and pain that the U.S. Government has inflicted on the people of the Middle East, Iraq in particular.
While Zahra was growing up in Baghdad, she was a precocious student and has always shown a stubborn rebelliousness streak, which absolute dictators frown upon. For example, in Iraq, if a student is successful in school it is a practice for relatives and friends to give the good student gifts. Zahra's dream was for a bike, even though girls were not supposed to ride bicycles in public. She was joined by other feisty Baghdad girls riding bikes on the streets of Baghdad, long hair flowing and Michael Jackson on the radio.
In Baghdad, Zahra's father was a utility executive. His refusal to join Saddam's Ba'ath Party meant that he was assassinated when Zahra was 10 years old, in 1980.
In 1994, after the first Gulf War, Saddam reversed his pro-western cultural shift and suddenly there was a generation out of step with the will of the dictator. Zahra's family history jeopardized her professional advancement as an adult. As conditions worsened, she fled with her family to Jordan in 2001.
"Since Iraqis are not allowed to work in Jordan, I could not work. I was a part time volunteer with different organizations in the capacity of translator and social worker." Said Zahra. She and her daughters came to the U.S. in 2006.
Life has been a struggle for a long time but Zahra is no quitter. She is determined to help others who have faced similar difficulties.
The Portland Iraqi Solidarity Committee has formed to provide political and material support for the people of Iraq who are here and who are still in Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Iran. To join this effort, Portlanders of good will are asked for financial contributions, time, and physical support of the refugees from Iraq who are arriving in Portland. To contact the Portland Iraqi Solidarity Committee email www.savetherefugees.org Our next meeting will by Sunday July 27th at 1pm call Tim at 503-230-0488 for the location.
For more information: Contact Tim Calvert 503-230-0488