Today, BBC Magazine published an incredibly powerful narrative from a gay IRAP client who fled Iraq to escape persecution by the Islamic State (ISIS) and members of his own family. His heart-wrenching testimony speaks to the experiences of many of our clients. An excerpted portion of his narrative appears below. Please read the full piece here, and share his voice with your networks.
“If I’d stayed, ISIS would have come for me and killed me the way they’ve killed others. If ISIS didn’t get me, members of my family would have done it. A few days after I left, I learned that my uncle – my father’s brother – had taken an oath to cleanse the family honour.
Recently, I received an anonymous Facebook message – but my mother thinks it was from my uncle. It said: “I know you’re in Beirut. Even if you went to hell, I would follow you there.”
All I want now is to be in a safe place, unreachable by my dad or anyone with extremist thoughts. I want to be safe, to be free, and to be myself – to get my degree and start living… I just want to start living.
Human rights lawyers from the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project have helped me get refugee status and are working on getting me resettled in another country, where I want to continue my studies. Here I’m living in one room, the size of my bathroom back home. I’m in limbo.
I think I will recover eventually but there will always be a memory of this dark period when I literally had to run for my life to avoid being killed. It was very stressful, but luckily I made it.”