Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Friday, April 11, 2003

Some happy new American citizens.

Abbas Al-Atbi, an Iraqi who became a U.S. citizen Thursday in St. Louis, could hardly contain himself.

"I feel like freedom," he said with a broad smile as he waited with 252 others to take the oath. "Now I have a second home with freedom in one day."

"Today is a very great day," declared Jassim Almamori. "My people in Iraq got their freedom. It's a big day in my life."

Almamori, a Shiite who also fled Saddam's forces, has founded a group called Shi'ite Human Rights Watch, to collect information on abuses. He said he hopes to open an office in Iraq by the end of the month.

"I think to be a Muslim here (in the United States) is better than to be a Muslim there (in the Arab world)," he said. "Here we can worship God any way we like."

Mohammed Alrebat, another Shiite from Basra, said, "I'm happy because I got citizenship and I'm happy because my country be free now."

Alrebat, 37, said he plans to return to Iraq soon to work for a St. Louis-based telecommunications company that is helping the U.S. military rebuild damaged infrastructure.

Alrebat said his family hates Saddam, whose military killed his brother. "We've been hoping to see this moment 35 years," he explained.

And how American Dream is this?

Shirley Padmore, speaker at Thursday's program, told of her family's struggle to adjust here after fleeing a military coup in her native Liberia 21 years ago. Now, Padmore said, she is a lawyer at a large law firm in St. Louis, one of her sisters is an opera singer in New York and another is a doctor.

< email | 4/11/2003 02:50:00 PM | link

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