A Warning Letter with a Bullet


Refugee Stories - Rimon Alqoshi
Immune to the worsening geopolitical situation, Rimon Alqoshi was leading a relaxed life in Iraq. That was up to 2010. Things changed for him that year as his family received a warning letter with a bullet sealed in an envelope. “Leave Iraq,” it tersely stated.
"Yes, a situation is very, very dangerous for minorities like us - the Christians, Yazidis and even from the other sect within Islam," he says. 
The warning letter made Rimon, his sister and his mother move out of Iraq to Syria and finally to Canada in 2015.
"I hold a certificate in software engineering from Iraq and had to take up the job of kitchen helper in Syria. Later, Syria too became equally dangerous. Thank God, we survived," he remarks. 
Rimon’s case was picked up by the United Nations Refugee Agency and the family was allotted Canada as a country to move to.
Rimon, who took up some English upgrading classes at the Centre for Newcomers is now studying ESL Level 5 at Bow Valley College. He is very keen to take up a job now.

"If I want to upgrade my software engineering qualifications, I will have to complete English Level 8 first. Till then, I am looking for a job in a warehouse setting,"  but adds that jobs are hard to come by in the current scenario. "We don't find jobs easily,"  he says.
He likes Calgary and loves Centre for Newcomers. "We were well provided by the CFN. My Arabic speaking settlement practitioner even arranged a wheelchair for my elderly mother. I can always depend on the Centre whenever I need help with the resources."
"They have made life easy. Initially, we didn't know much about the city. Now everything is clear," he smiles as he gets up to leave.

Fact File: Iraq
Iraq map

Refugees from Iraq fled due to war or persecution. Throughout the past 30 years, there have been a growing number of refugees fleeing Iraq and settling throughout
the world, peaking with the Iraq War. Precipitated by a series of conflicts including the Kurdish rebellions during the Iran–Iraq War (1980 to 1988), Iraq's Invasion of Kuwait (1990) and the Gulf War (1991), the subsequent sanctions against Iraq, and culminating in the violence during and after the American-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, millions have been forced by insecurity to flee their homes in Iraq. The situation worsened with militant groups taking over. Unlike most refugees, Iraqi refugees have established themselves in urban areas in other countries rather than refugee camps. Ongoing violence in Iraq has led to successive waves of mass displacement and a deepening humanitarian crisis.  Iraq now has the third largest population of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the world, with 3.2 million persons displaced in the country since January 2014. They join approximately 1 million persons still displaced from the 2006 – 2008 period of conflict. Many have sought safety in the Kurdistan region.
(Source Wikipedia, UNHCR)