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Last Updated: Monday, 17 March 2008, 18:37 GMT
Iraqis who left: Sawsan al-Dawodi
I have been in Egypt since October 2006 with my husband and two daughters. We are trying to get to the United States.

Sawsan al-Dawodi
Age: 46
Lives: Giza, Egypt
Status: applying for asylum in US

I sold everything we owned in Baghdad before coming here: our house, car, furniture.

I had taken many jobs since 2003 interpreting for the Coalition Provisional Authority.

In 2003 I was sent out to Washington DC. I went to press conferences at the Pentagon and I met several senators at the White House.

Shortly after I returned, someone handed me a leaflet the US troops had been circulating, all about "good Iraqis" who were working towards the new Iraq.

There was a photo of me in the leaflet, mingling with senators in the Pentagon... At the same time, my husband was working with the UN. We are also Sunnis.

So we were in big trouble, belonging to several of the most targeted groups.

We are now spending our savings here in Egypt. We can last for another three to four months.

Our two daughters are both studying dentistry here. One is 19, the other is 22. Their university fees are very high.

We have struggled for nearly a year with no income. My husband tried to get work, but hasn't managed to. I also tried but failed to get work. No-one is hiring Iraqis.

I am still just at the start of the resettlement process. It's just killing us, not knowing what's going to happen - and time running out.


I feel I have a good case for getting asylum in the US. My previous bosses - most of whom are now back in the US - have contacted my legal advisers. But it all takes time.

We worry about the future. If I reach the point where I don't have a penny, then I guess I will have to go back.

Being a refugee is a painful experience. I'm 46 now ...[she starts crying] You don't know what it feels like, until you have lived it; the struggle.

My mother and my brothers and sisters are all in Baghdad.

They ask me to go back because they feel I am so tired here. But I can't go back, I have to carry on.

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