As part of CRO’s “What Happened?” Project, we are in the process of conducting interviews with Iraqi refugees now living in the United States. In addition to compiling and archiving the complete records of these interviews for future reference, we are also editing down selective portions into videos and podcasts.

Note: these are raw, firsthand narratives of living through war and occupation. Some of the events described are graphic.


“We Were All Wrong”
Mr. A.’s Story, Part One
Mr. A.’s Story, Part Two
-A Child’s View of War
-The Story of M., Part One
-The Story of M., Part Two
-The Story of M., Part Three
-The Story of M., Part Four


Ali Ibrahim

July, 2013

Ali is an Iraqi refugee and has been in the country 2 months at the time of this interview. He had to leave school, his career with an acting troupe and his family in Baghdad. When he immigrated to the U.S. they didn’t include his wife in his visa application which he had submitted together with his own. Sad that he is alone and now waiting for his new life to unfold in California he doesn’t know how he will bring his wife to be with him.

Zaid Faransso

July, 2013

Zaid was a practicing doctor in Iraq when the U.S. invaded in 2003. He worked in a hospital in Baghdad. When the war began it was harder and harder to get to work, and the U.S. soldiers invaded his hospital making his life miserable. He comes from a family of doctors and decided to go to Jordan where he could practice without the chaos of the war. He immigrated to the U.S. and is now trying to qualify for a residency so he can continue his work in medicine. He has been uprooted, his work taken from him, but he strives on to accomplish his goal to become a doctor in the U.S. He is an example of educated Iraqis who now have to compete in a difficult job environment in the U.S. for work in their chosen fields. He is resilient and determined to accomplish his goals.

Bessar Yousif

December 7, 2012

Bessar’s story leaves you with the clear picture of how chaotic and dangerous Iraq is today  for everyone and particularly the common person on the street. He pointed out that at the airport there are safe waiting places for people with status, but the rest, like himself, have to wander around the street outside before being called in for a flight.  Bessar has settled in El Cajon, California.

Ahmad Agil 

December 7, 2012

Ahmad Agil came to the United States in 1999.  He and his pregnant wife left Iraq so that they could continue their college educations and escape the war with Kuwait.  It took them several tries, first through Turkey and then through Jordan.  On one of their waiting periods their first child was born on the boarder between Iraq and Iran, Both finally made it to the USA and completed their degrees in sociology.  Now that they are both working as caseworkers (IRC and Jewish Family Service) they are faced with the newly arriving Iraqis.  The fact that they both speak Arabic and are Iraqi makes their work invaluable. Ahmad lives in El Cajon, Calfornia.

Lara Talib

December 7, 2012

This is a story of how the life of refugees continues through the generations. Although Lara feels she is an American, she now faces the discrimination of being an Iraqi refugee through her association with her relatives who have recently arrived in her community.



July  7, 2010

This is a story of a doctor and her family who were torn apart by the war. She could no longer practice, and her children immigrated to different countries around the world. She is save in the USA, but lonely for her children. The story of Iraqis dispersed all over the world is a common theme for these refugees.

Mr. M

July 17, 2010

This is a story of the war from the eyes of a young boy who has never seen an American before. He finds them rude and insensitive to his mother who he tries to protect. He is amused by what they wear and eat. He is highly aware of their guns (he knows what kind they are) and the helicopters flying over their home as they make it their post.


July 15, 2011

This is a story of how a straight A student could be turned into a thug as a result of protecting himself as a young boy in the chaos of the war and seeing the atrocities at his school. It is a story of a family that recognized they needed to save their children and leave.


Please check back often, as we are adding new podcasts and videos regularly.




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