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Monday, March 18, 2013

Iraqis Have Complicated Feelings On War Anniversary

Anna Khanakan and her children, Tariq and Tara, welcomed the American military when they arrived in Iraq in 2003. (Courtesy Principle Pictures)

Anna Khanakan and her children, Tariq and Tara, welcomed the American military when they arrived in Iraq in 2003. (Courtesy Principle Pictures)

This week marks the ten year anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq.

Anna Khanakah, a Kurdish woman from Sulaymaniyah in Northeast Iraq, who worked for the American government in Iraq, has complicated feelings about the war.

On the one hand, she is grateful to the United States, because she feels her country was liberated from an oppressive dictator. On the other, she says the war caused horrible damages and allowed terrorist groups to gain a stronger foothold in Iraq.

Khanakah and her family were resettled in Southern California in 2010, after she says Islamic terrorists marked her as a traitor for working with Americans.

She wishes that American troops had remained in Iraq to help safeguard the country. She is also disappointed in the U.S., because she says the government abandoned Iraqis who risked their lives by working for America during the war.

It took two harrowing years before the U.S. resettled Khanakah. During that time, she was in constant fear of her life. Now she says she and her family face a tough economy and difficult job market.

But, she is pleased that her children are getting an education, and says her family is pursuing the American dream.

Khanakah also appears in the documentary “The List”:


  • Anna Khanakah, Iraqi woman who worked for the U.S. government in Iraq.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://twitter.com/language_news Judy Jenner

    Thank you so much for shedding light on the complicated issue of military interpreters! However, it looks like. Ms. Khanakah worked for the American military forces as an interpreter, not a translator (I am both, and while it might sound petty, this is an important distinction in our profession). Interpreters work with the spoken word, while translators work with the written word. Have a look: http://www.npr.org/2011/01/20/133091238/Letters-A-Clarification-Lego-Stadium

    • Doubting_Thomas12

      Not petty- as an engineer it would likely be the same as confusing an embedded systems engineer with an electrical engineer, or an optical(IR) engineer with a radar engineer. Little details that actually mean worlds of difference when you’re actually the boots on the ground.

    • Cphprescott

      I’m sorry, but does the distinction have any relevance in the context of this story?  Interpreter or translator, seems to me that they would both be in danger, and having done their jobs with the promise of protection, deserve the fulfillment of that promise regardless of the semantics of written or spoken word.

  • Dovecottage

    Dear Robin, please
    let me ask:  When did God Almighty appointed any of us  (let alone The Supreme Court or the 
    Republican Party) judge and jury and determine  who has the right to marry,  have children or die!  He made us all  with his own hands; wrought with his devoted love and compassion;  all  given  His divine right to free will and  be good, honest and happy.

  • Dovecottage

    Thank you so much for allowing us to comment.  How can anyone take the right to marry, have children and be recognized and respected families, gay or  not?  God made Gay people too and notice: Like all different people,  they have incredible,  unique gifts, that many of us not gay can only admire and respect and wish we could have them also. 

    Besides, in our selfish society, where people think that only their opinion matters for they are perfect and righteous, who would ever CHOOSE to be Gay?  Oh,  how not to cry for all the children who killed themselves because they could not change their sexual orientation? 

     I wish I could  say  this to  those people in the Supreme Court, the Republican Party and the many religious people who see God, not as our Heavenly FATHER, but as a terrible judge of what He created.
    Of course, He also gave us free will to choose right from wrong:  How could  the wish to get married for life be wrong?

    Oh,  this hurst so much.  It is like the way we treat our Vets, our Foster children, our mentally ill and  our people in jail. Who is perfect in this world?   Can’t we please, strive to help and think of  any of these persons as our son, brother, nephew.  When others hurt, how not to hut ourselves too?

    So much stress I gained five pounds in two days and i have terrible knees and back.Thank you Robin, God bless always.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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