Twenty-five-year-old Hamzah Basil, an Iraqi student, has come to terms with the situation back home.
Ever since the crisis broke out in Iraq, thousands of miles away from home, he like many of his countrymen, grabs every bit of information he can about the situation there.
“I call my parents and friends, who live in the violence-torn parts of my country, every day to make sure they are safe. It is common for an Iraqi to see a bomb explode in the street. But at the moment, the lives of thousands of innocent civilians are at stake,” he says grimly.
These youngsters have carried the baggage of war ever since they can remember. “Iraqis have been through traumatic times during the Saddam regime as well,” says Samer Adnan Hani Al Khaboori from Baghdad, who lives here with his wife Rasha and children — Hind, Ali and Zain. Samer is pursuing his Masters in Science at the Indian Academy.
“Innocent people must not be victimised. The tension between Sunnis and Shias has been blown out of proportion. We live like one community and are ready to die for our country if the need arises,” observes Samer. They believe these are tough but transient times. However, much of what is shown on television is magnified, they rue.
“The fighting is limited to a few provinces, only those bordering Syria. The rest of the country is peaceful,” adds Mohammed Abdulkareem, who hails from Diwanyh in the south of Baghdad, and has just completed his Masters in Finance and Accountancy here.
“Some of the footages being shown on television are old, those of 2006 -2007. Yes, there is unrest but Iraqi military will take control of the situation,” he is positive. “There are gangs from Afghanistan and Syria working in their self-interest there,” he says.
Makld Saadoon, who hails from Babylon, has finished his MSc here and is all set to go home. “Whatever is happening is happening in a small part of Iraq,” he says.
Ever since the rebels attacked northern and western Iraq, he has been keeping track of the news. “The militants will not succeed,” he is sure about that.
Notwithstanding the troubles at home, they are delighted to be here. Hamzah’s mother, in fact, flies into Bangalore quite often to spend time with him. “I take her around the City and we go for short trips during her stay here,” he says.
Later on, he hopes to get a doctorate. “If I have a doctorate, my chances of getting a good job with a hefty salary is much higher,” he says. Saadoon confesses that all
his time here was spent in studying.
“Initially when I came here, it was difficult. After being here for two years, I have got used to the place and its culture. Once I go back, I will be looking for a job in any private company there,” he says.
Mohammed Abdulkareem, meanwhile, is weaving ambitious plans for his people. “I would like Indian companies to invest in Iraq. That will open up job opportunities there and strengthen our relations,” he says. “ I may come back here for my PhD. I also want to bring my mom here for treatment,” he adds.
Bangalore has some great memories for them. But they also try to bring the feel of home here. “There are more than 10,000 Iraqis in India and some of us meet regularly. We cook Iraqi food and have small parties. It’s been a very peaceful stay here,” adds Samer, who has named his daughter Hind.
“My sons speak fluent Hindi. I love India and want my children to take something back from this country. That’s why I named my daughter Hind,” he smiles.