Iraqi translator flees to U.S. to start over

July 3, 2008 7:11:08 PM PDT
An Iraqi translator is now safe in the Bay Area with his family, thanks to the efforts of a local Marine who did all he could to bring them here.

Two unlikely friends met up again in San Jose --away from the war zone that brought them together three years ago.

His name is Haitham Jasim -- an Iraqi translator known as "Falcon" to the American soldiers he helped

"It's something like somebody flying in the sky with nothing underneath. I can't express it exactly, but I am happy," says Jasim.

Today, it was Captain John Jacobs, a marine who came to his aid.

"These interpreters have risked their lives to help defend our country and to promote our mission in Iraq and I think we owe them something in return," says Jacobs.

About a year ago Haitham e-mailed Jacobs. He asked for help to get him and his family out of Iraq. Things were just too dangerous for someone who had helped the Americans.

"Terrorist come into Iraq across the border, wanting to collapse everything because they don't want democracy in the Middle East especially in Iraq," says Jasim.

With the help of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, Haitham was able to also get his wife and two children out of Iraq. But first, he had to risk his life crossing the border to get processed in neighboring Jordan, then return to Iraq to get his family.

"There are 2.5 million refugees that have been created by this war, so Haitham and his family are one of the lucky few," says Ellen Dumesnil of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County.

Haitham and his family will settle down in San Jose and begin to adapt to the American way of life while Haitham will actively begins looking for a job.


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