Translation=death for Iraqis
Ayat Selman, a Baghad native working as an interpreter
with the U.S. Army
Iraqi translators help at own peril
By NANCY DILLON
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
BAGHDAD - Iraqi interpreter Ayat Selman, a beautiful Baghdad native with covergirl hair and a kilowatt smile, hasn't seen her family in eight months.
She's an English-Arabic interpreter of Kurdish descent working with the U.S. Army.
And she said going home in the current climate of violence would be tantamount to suicide. "It's a good job. I like it. But I miss my family," she said sitting on a stiff cot in her air-conditioned tent at Camp Liberty. "If I go home, the insurgents will kill me."
Selman took the job serving U.S. troops two years ago because she wanted to help rebuild her country and learn more about American culture. The money was good, $1,050 a month for interpreters who live on the base. And it was a great opportunity to hone her impressive language skills.
"I appreciate that [the Americans] liberated us from Saddam [Hussein]," she said, wearing the desert-color fatigues, hat and head scarf she dons before climbing into armored Humvees for dangerous eight-hour patrols, six days a week. "It's good for Iraqi generations in the future."
Selman, who learned English studying microbiology at Baghdad University, added, "Before, we didn't have the Internet. We didn't have cell phones."
Selman, 25, is one of many Iraqi nationals working at the base who are hoping to build a better life, grateful for a paying job but anxious about hitching their fortunes to the U.S.
"If the coalition forces leave right now, we are dead," she said bluntly, surrounded by four other female interpreters who nodded in unison.
I hope to God these are not these women's real names. Because the Iraqi resistance reads US papers, uses Google and has an intelligence network which will hunt these women down with the help of their neighbors.
The US will have to bring thousands of these people to the US or watch them executed for being collaborators. The resistance has a pretty strict rule: cooperate with the Americans and they will kill you.
And this is tacitly supported by most Iraqis.
posted by Steve @ 12:10:00 AM