Iraqi refugee seeks own American dream

Ten days after arriving in the US, Iraqi refugee Ali Taha Ernad and his family are not quite settled in their adoptive country. The move from Baghdad to Boston is a dream come true for Ernad, but he has greater aspirations to fulfill.


Ten years after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, and despite numerous studies, the human cost of the war remains difficult to measure. Besides the casualties – both civilian and military – tens of thousands of people have been permanently disabled and emotionally scarred, while millions of Iraqis have been forced into exile. As many as 80,000 Iraqi refugees fled to the US in the wake of the war.


“My Beloved Enemy” is a web documentary series that focuses on real people, both Iraqi and American, whose lives have been forever changed by the conflict.

In this episode, the second in a five-part series, newly-arrived Iraqi refugee Ali Taha Ernad recounts the joy he felt moving to America, and the difficulties that soon followed.

He receives a visit from Sharon Sanders of International Institute-Lowell, an organisation appointed by the US government to assist new immigrants.

Ernad’s family has been placed on a waiting list for permanent housing. In the meantime they continue to live in a Boston motel room, and it is unlikely he will be able to continue his 13-year career as an anaesthetist. Nevertheless, he has not given up on his dream of one day making a difference in his adoptive homeland.

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