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Ari Moustafa


War in Iraq, 2006

Colour photograph of the face of Ari Moustafa.
Ari Moustafa, taken in 2006 © Carl Rose


Ari Moustafa came to England from Iraq where his family had been persecuted because of their Kurdish origins. In the sound clip he gives an insight into the experiences of Kurdish people in Iraq and what it feels like to be a refugee in another country.

The clip lasts for 2 minutes and 50 seconds.

I'm thinking that you've left your home country, you have your family your friends a lot of the work that you had back there in Iraq, do you miss that and do you miss those people?

I think there's nobody who doesn't miss his family, or his child, or his wife or his father. Everybody he miss his country firstly, not the family. I miss my country first, not my family, second I miss my family. Because in my country I am not refugee and many times here it's something very difficult when they told us 'you are refugee'. It's true we are refugee. We don't say 'I am not refugee, I'm not a citizen here' but also we have got responsibility in this country, we look after the country like any citizen.

In my country it was occupation, one hundred years ago, not just now. My grandfather, he also didn't see any safe day or any day without war in Iraq or in Kurdish area. It's always war and civilian war or between Saddam or Kurdish or civilian war or with the Turkish. Everybody they know, maybe they heard about the Kurdish area and what happens now. It was in Turkey, we have got part of Kurdistan in Turkey but they are not legal to speak Kurdish there, they haven't got TV, they haven't got media about Kurdish language, nothing at all. It's just last year or just a few months ago they have got TV and on the TV they must translate immediately to Turkish language.

We have got a rich country, we haven't got a poor country, our country is very rich but unfortunately we haven't got a system, we haven't got democracy, we have got dictator, we have got empire in Iraq. It's true they changed Saddam Hussein but they didn't change the system, it's the same system and same killing, same terrorists in Iraq. It's true Saddam Hussein is gone but who is coming in his place? Every people they know what is the situation in Iraq, every people they know. It's daily they kill, it was eighty or seventy people they kill daily but it's now more than a hundred people they kill daily. It's civilian war between Shi'a and Sunni but it's just secret, hidden, they didn't say in the media but it's really civilian war and, Iraq is on the border of civilian war, big civilian war.

Extract of an interview with Ari Moustafa recorded by Stuart Crossthwaite for the Burngreave oral history archive, April 2006.