Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Irony

US trauma treatment center assists Iraqi refugees

Dec 23, 2010 - Ekhlas Gorgees kept her composure as she recounted the horrific traumas she and her family endured in Iraq.

She calmly recalled how her husband was severely wounded after a bomb exploded outside of his Baghdad plumbing shop, how she was threatened at gunpoint while walking home from church and how her family tried to escape north to the city of Mosul just before a bloody attack on civilians sent them fleeing back to the capital. It wasn't until later when she talked about the difficulty of leaving her homeland that the tears came.

"We are the native people of Iraq - it's hard for us to leave our native country," she said through an interpreter. "The hope - even now - is to go back to my country."

Such stories are told with increasing regularity in the Detroit suburb of Sterling Heights, the center of a growing population of refugees who fled the war in Iraq and home to a new facility for refugee victims of post-traumatic stress, torture and other war trauma. The center, run by the nonprofit Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, has become a hub for healing as thousands of Iraqis, both Christian and Muslim, try to put their lives back together.

Lead therapist Husam Abdulkhaleq said the conflicts in Iraq affect new and old clients alike, regardless of ethnic or religious background. And because many were persecuted because of who they are, resettling alone doesn't solve their problems. They continue to struggle with insomnia, depression and anxiety, he said. {continued}

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