The Birth of Coffee Shop Politics

* 2 min

This true story gave birth to my political passion. The event was seared into my memory back in the 80s, when I was still in Basrah, I remember my family and I were sleeping on the roof of our house.  It was common practice for Iraqis to sleep on the roofs of their houses when the electricity went off.  I remember on one of those dark nights, my father lost his temper and started to curse Saddam loudly so that all the neighbors could hear.  Frantic, my mother summoned me and my sisters into the car and drove us off to my grandmother’s house, fearful that one of our neighbors might report the incident to Saddam’s intelligence office.  The consequences of such defection would have resulted in my father being executed and my family suffering for the rest of our lives.  Fortunately, that did not happen, but we lived under constant fear of openly expressing our political opinions in coffee shops and our discontent with a multitude of political decisions in Iraq.

This single event is at the root of my motivation to observe, understand and write about political issues. 


I will NOT live under the same fear in America.  As an American, I have Freedom of Speech, and I will continue to express my likes and dislikes of American Foreign Policy.  I will be an advocate for the policy makers when I believe they are correct, and I will criticize them when I feel they are wrong.  I will express the Iraqi sociopolitical voice about America.

Today, I am pleased to announce the birth of my new blog – Coffee Shop Politics.  I have decided to relocate my political editorials to this new domain,  I did this for two main reasons.  One, I think politics, especially American Foreign Policy, generates a lot of buzz.  A standalone political blog may interest many additional readers and can inspire ongoing forums and discussions on a variety of issues. Two, as many of you know, I have written about several other topics that don’t have anything to do with politics. By separating the political blogs, I will increase the focus on political topics and not dilute the content in amalgam with other topics.

Coffee Shop Politics will be my new virtual podium, through which I plan to share my views on a variety of political topics, such as the rights of Christians to exist in the Middle East, American Foreign Policy in Iraq, ( for example, I still blame the American administration for letting the Iraq-Iran war drag on for eight miserable years) and my political book reviews, among others.

As a naturalized American, I will do my best to articulate my point of view for the benefit of the American public, and offer ground up alternative views to policymakers.

Through my original blog,, I will continue to document different aspects of my life, such as my thoughts, my milestones, my worldly excursions, and more.  Thank you for joining me in my journey to express everything that is important to me.

My dad is on the path of old age at 75 now. He still asks me about Iraq every single time I call home. I believe he is hoping that one day Iraqi with its oil will turn like Dubai. Still remembering that screaming politically oppressed voice of my dad on roof of our house, I dedicate this website for him.

And now, I invite you to visit to check it out for yourself; and if you have time, maybe read some of the previous political blogs I wrote.


The curse of a dream job

*2 min bold reading

I turned 39 this year. I should be cautious and selective for what I do next. At this age, I must stay wise because making mistakes now can be very costly. In the coming years of my life, I wish to fulfill many goals and desires, yet I find myself hesitant to embark on these new ideas and journeys because there is always an element of uncertainty in challenging the unknown. When I should work on being prepared, I can’t help but to sometimes feel insecure.

What I do now is and has always been a dream job for me – toiling away on the front lines of American Foreign Policy. I love what I do! Sometimes I feel the thrill of pride running through me as I pass under the America flag, realizing that I myself am a part (albeit a minor one) of this vast and magnificently impactful work of the United State of America in Iraq.

The gravity of a good job has pulled me back to the Earth and slowed me. I cannot believe how quickly four years have passed, and I am still in the same place. Sometimes I wonder if it is worth it. I’ve made so many sacrifices. I am bereaved from my loved ones. I have missed countless occasions and holidays. I have grown apart from my family. And worst of all, I have become desensitized to death. Is it really possible that a dream job can actually feel like a curse at the same time? Has all this time been wasted?

But then, I hear about some of my friends who went back to America and opened up businesses. Or one friend who became a senator; or some friends who lost their money and came back. Or some got divorced and came back. There is this theory of relativity that makes comparing my situation to others’ situations unavoidable. When I visit America, I notice that everyone has their own stresses and inner demons that make them question their own situations, and that’s when I stop to feel so bad and uncertain about my own job. On the contrary, it convinces me more to stay at this job, despite the sacrifices I have to make.

I have grown accustomed to my job and am very comfortable with this lifestyle, so naturally the idea of change is a bit daunting. I demur every time I think I need to apply for jobs and go through interviews, take exams, or even pay for more certifications.

Maybe I have become institutionalized in Iraq. I am dependent on a big income. I am enjoying a unique job that requires a very select skill set that I have and has become easier over time. I can afford the opportunity to travel wherever I want to in this world. And I get free yummy food on a daily basis. If I were to leave this job, I would need to change my way of life, and that’s when being 39 makes change tougher to swallow.

But wisdom and experience tell me that there is no way to stop change from coming. Albert Einstein said, “Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” The truth is I don’t know what to do next. All I know is that whatever that next step is will have the potential to be more rewarding than what I do now. And my curiosity has allowed me to start with reading.

Book Covers

In the past few years, I have started to read voraciously, 400,000 pages in Baghdad. The hot, dry desert and constant Iraqi wars can be devastating on the mind and make you thirsty for some type of intellectual stimulation to make you feel human again. But I have enrolled at the University of Life at and the books have quenched my thirst. My boundless curiosity has led me on a relentless pursuit over the past four years to read all kinds of books that have made words my most meaningful treasures.

Books and stories are my escape. They are my comfort. They inspire me. I learned on the shoulders of giants of Amazon’s many things…

And living inspired has opened my eyes to countless goals I can envision in my mind. Creating a successful startup business? Traveling? Reading? Working out? Writing my own book?

Perhaps I am living with the curse of wanting it all.

But instead of viewing this as a curse, I am going to view this as an opportunity, as a challenge to figure out how to effectively combine and intertwine them all. I know what my passions are. And what my insatiable desires are.

There are many forks in the road that lies ahead, and I really don’t know which path I will follow. But what I do know is this: “Let things come to me” – the doors to the right paths will open.



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Part 2 – Diesel D:CODE for Successful living and 40X40 = Rolex

* 3 min bold read

We spotted a nice boutique. A very nice boutique. I hesitantly walked inside, and my eyes were instantly transfixed on a pair of shoes. It was the first time I came to understanding how women feel about shoes. These were Roberto Botticelli’s. Absolute beauties! They lit the torch of my burning impulsive desire to rise in the social hierarchy of attention.

In their decadence, artistic white spots dazzled atop of hand-made pure black leather shoes – a magnet for attention. The shoes were begging to be touched. Every drop of white paint seduced my feet, making my toes curl up and salivate for the warmth of the provocative shoes. It is ironic how in this very moment, I finally understood the beauty of hand-crafted items that women go gaga over – especially a simple pair of shoes. I was able to finally appreciate the amount of care that was put into stitching these shoes together. All my life, I was adamantly against the idea of buying expensive shoes for the very simple reason that they were just shoes. But these Roberto Botticelli’s, albeit astronomical in price, instantly transformed my way of thinking. They dared me to jettison my old perception against lavish consumerism.

Roberto Botticelli and Diesel

On a similar sunny day, we were walking back from either the Coliseum or San Pietro in Vincoli church. I saw a Diesel store. I love jeans and I know Diesel is an Italian brand. I walked inside looking and wondering about the latest trends. I was thinking about my new spotted shoes when my eyes spotted a pair of jeans. They were blue jeans, boasting a front-faded wash with laced patches, and they appeared aged and rusted to perfection, giving them a vintage, antique effect.

They are limited edition!” the salesman proclaimed.

What does limited mean?” I asked.

“Diesel produced only 978 of these jeans in the world! They are only for sale at high-end stores. And this is one of them. It is the establishment year of Diesel.” He answered.

Already on a trend of buying expensive, name-brand items, I didn’t even hesitate to whip out my credit card for these rugged jeans.

I guess with the purchase, I now belonged to this limited edition community called Diesel D:CODE. I became one of the 978 luckiest people among the 7.3 Billion on this planet. Excited, I walked out of the store looking at the jeans one more time. They were stamped with emotive words, “For Successful Living”. I am not sure what that truly means. Maybe I should wear it on interviews or dates and they will bring me more success! But I do know that I’ve been on this extravagant shopping binge lately, and being able to purchase these luxurious items has made me feel accomplished.

So, of course, on the final day of our trip, we were having dinner on one of those restaurants on Via Vittorio, and I noticed a Rolex store and said to my girlfriend sitting across from me,

Maybe I will buy myself a Rolex for my 40th birthday!

“Yea, you should get a nice one,” she agreed.

I thought to myself, I will buy it as a gift if the Angel of Good Fortune blesses me to accomplish my 40 by 40 goal.

I would like to visit 40 countries by the age of 40. I need to visit 16 more countries. That’s quite a challenge, I know, but since I have the disposable income to do so, why not just go for it! Maybe I can join one of those ‘Around the World’ tours and knock out several countries in a matter of weeks. And then, I will buy a Rolex at the 40th country at the end of my trip. Aaahhh, the good life.

Success makes us feel good. It feels good to feel successful and financially independent.

BUT, as I was thinking about all of these material goods, my heart began to fill up with a mixture feeling of guilt and wonderment. Why do the pursuits of material things define our success?

If I were stripped of all material things, would I now be unsuccessful?

Many have become financially successful in America, but their pompous and vainglory character has killed them financially, socially, mentally, and sometimes even physically.

It is quite ironic, yet devastatingly true. People are famous yet depressed, rich yet divorced, respected yet deceitful, powerful yet corrupt.

Egos are like hot air balloons, requiring the helium of external attention to remain inflated, but once that helium runs out, they sink slowly through the air, allowing everyone to see their downfall, until they finally crash into the ground, dying a lonely death.

I won’t let that happen to me. No matter what shoes or jeans or watches I wear, I will stay true to my character…to stay real and be real. I know I have virtues and vices in my flesh and blood.

Financial and social success is easy; good character and virtue is hard.

It is one’s character, not bank account, that defines his success. Success can take us many places and elevate us in social hierarchy, but it is the character that keeps us up there.

In this society, our success might be validated by others through our financial, but I want people to remember me for my benevolence, honesty, and humble attitude.

P.S. Did you read Happiness from Lalastan?


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Part 1- Louis Vuitton’s Guide to Successful Living

* 1 min bold read

I am neither Kanye West nor a fashion blogger. I don’t really follow fashion trends. But the Angel of Good Fortune blessed me and was able to visit Italy last month. Walking on those ageless streets, I was seduced by some shopping and treated myself to a few luxurious items.

Shopping makes traveling even more memorable. We never forget some moments from our lives; one of them is buying a timeless piece of Louis Vuitton.

Louis Vuitton wallet

One day we were walking on Via dei Condotti, and I saw a crowd waiting outside a fancy boutique. Located on the same street of Gucci, Prada, Burberry and many others, it was a Louis Vuitton store. It was the only store with a crowd of people waiting to get inside.

It was time for me to explore the world of Louis Vuitton. Wandering around the men’s section, I saw a fancy wallet with multiple pockets and slots, unmistakably stylish in Monogram. Strategically placed with other accessories to noticeably stand out, it caught my attention immediately. I coveted it. Even though I was able to afford it, I kept debating whether or not I should. To a certain extent, I felt guilty paying so much for a wallet. You see, I’m a giver and buying something like this for someone else (mom, sister) doesn’t bother me one bit. It seemed quite ironic to me. But the impulse to own a piece of brown Monogram stamped with LV overpowered my rationale. It is a symbol of status and fashion.

We are all sensitive to public opinion; what others think matters to us. In a jocular way, the act of pulling a Louis Vuitton wallet out of pocket invites attention. Isn’t nice to flaunt it? – putting the wallet next to my iPhone on the table in restaurants so everyone can see. It draws the inverse sign of “nobody” to “somebody”.

The sound of the credit card swipe reminded me when I was student at the University. I was broke. I came from a poor family who barely paid house bills. I used to shop at Target and Marshalls for clothes. I rarely bought brand name items. Calvin Klein was a reach to dress a little fancier. Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Diesel Jeans and Boss were out of the picture. Even when I to went out with my friends, I bought Mad Dog 20/20 – a cheap liquor $3.00. We parked on the streets in downtown Chicago and drank inside the car before we went inside a club.

Twenty years later, I own timeless piece of Louis Vuitton, a beautiful wallet in an era where I rarely even carry cash.


Another day, I was sitting under the column of the Immaculate Conception Piazza di Spagna waiting for my girlfriend to finish her facial treatment. I saw her approaching me with excitement, asking me to come and try something interesting and good for my eyes. We walked inside a store. A few minutes into the conversation with the salesman, I found myself lured in and lying on a bed, my eye covered with a 24k amalgam Gold eye mask from Adorenot even Roman emperors did that!

I was fully aware that the salesman was on a mission to convince me to buy the pricey treatment, but now that I had already purchased an expensive wallet, I figured why not just splurge some more since I can?

From iNeed-iWant-iWish, it feels good to be able to afford a European vacation, a LV wallet, and a gold eye mask. I have worked hard to be successful, and as a result, I feel I have earned the right to be lavish. It feels incredible, BUT…(check for part 2 next week)



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Part 2- I Am Italian

* 4 min bold read

“Beauty is the great seducer of men”, Alchemist

“But if Italy were America, we would strip away Saint Peter, Virgin Mary, and all these saints from these columns…”

I reserved a hotel in Rome City Center. After a refreshing shower, I curiously went out for a walk down the ancient streets. Upon reaching the Spanish Steps, I stopped for a few minutes and gazed at the panoramic view of this beautiful city. Then I took the 135 steps down and arrived at the Fountain of the Old Boat at the center of the piazza – Fountana Della Baraccia.

I observed the sculpted boat in the center of the street and the fresh water flowing through it. It truly was unique. There’s nothing else in this world like it. It is based on historic facts. The Tiber River flooded badly in 1598. And after the water withdrew, a boat was found in the square where the fountain still sits today.

I appreciate the symbolism the boat represents. Sometimes there is no explanation for the things that happen. A boat simply appears on a street. And as weird as it may be, there is no option but to deal with the fact that there is a boat in the street.

Fountana Della Baraccia

It reminded of my problems. I left Chicago while my 75-year-old man was still upset with me because I didn’t give my uncle some money to help him. He is slowly dying with ALS at the hospice, and his only form of enjoyment left is playing the lottery.

We all have to deal with the unpredictable nature of our problems. They carry with them the moral components of right and wrong. And then we are faced with a choice. In the example of the boat, instead of trying to remove the problem of a boat in the middle of the street, they transformed it into a beautiful sculpture. So in the case of my uncle, instead of lending him money simply to alleviate his problem, is there something better that I can do for him?

I spent a few days walking through the ageless streets of Rome. I was taking pictures of monuments, churches, the Pantheon, statues, fountains, columns, and saints. Every time I was tired, I sat near a column or a fountain that had a statue of Saint Peter, Virgin Mary, or something. The saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” has much truth to it because I never felt that I was alone. I felt near the vicinity and wisdom of Marcus Aurelius and Seneca.

I am not a religious person. But sitting under the shadow of saints above columns, I remembered ancient America. The Founding Fathers who conceived America from the wisdom of Cicero and Seneca and build it for the purpose of God under Christian values. It was blessed and became prosperous and the most powerful civilization on Earth.  

But if Italy were America, we would strip away Saint Peter, Virgin Mary, and all these saints from these columns, just like we drove God from public squares and Ten Commandments from courtrooms, or from our media by converting Christmas to Xmas or Merry Christmas to Happy Holidays.

After a few days in Rome, we took a flight to Sicily, and then another 30 minute ride to the old city of Taormina on the east coast of the island of Sicily. It is more than 200 meters above sea level on a hillside of Monte Tauro.

I reserved a room in Atlantis Bay hotel by the bay water. After checking in, we took a bus to the old part of the city. Watching landscapes and ruins from the bus window like the screen of a panorama passing, we were breath-taken. I was craving to touch these magnificent views that I had to make sure I didn’t jump out of the bus right then and there. We arrived at the old city in about 15 minutes.

The adjective “beautiful” does not do justice in describing the jaw-dropping scenery of the landscape. With narrow ancient Roman streets, open door churches, vintage color buildings, mountaintop apartments with magnificent views, restaurants with rooftops overlooking Mount Etna, I felt a strong desire to spend the rest of my life there. I coveted the life of this town. I longed to walk through the hills and valleys. I thirsted to see the blue sea and Mount Etna from a window apartment and remember Seneca and his wisdom. I yearned to drive those streets on the edge of the mountains. The aging buildings accept their status. They are old in the best sense of the word, because with age come riches in history, power, and wisdom.

Why did such a small village in another country seduce me despite the fact that I live in the great city of Chicago? Why did I fall so in love with a place because it has streets on the edge of mountains and vintage color buildings? I know it was ridiculous that I was passionately aroused by such a small and foreign village.

Still the feeling is familiar from our personal lives. We may find ourselves feeling the emotion of love by the way she speaks English with her Italian accent. Or we may get frustrated with her for buying expensive shoes. We fall under the blessing and curse of those trivial concerns. To ignore them is to discount how rich in meaning those small details really are.

Chicago is flat with extremely bad weather and has no ocean or mountains. We cannot enjoy the outdoors like this. A two-hour drive is not nearly as exciting. I value the distinguished characteristics of foreign lands not only because they are new, but because they seem to be in agreement more faithfully with my identity more than what my own city can provide. Italy lent me support to ideas and feelings that are a part of my identity that I couldn’t find in my city.

From my childhood in the midst of Muslims, I insisted that I was a Christian Assyrian. I abjure the Arab-sim in me. And I was avoiding saying I am from Iraq in my earlier years in American. But now, I agree with the nineteenth century French novelist Gustave Flaubert. His hatred of France made him fall in love with Egypt. He proposed a new method for ascribing nationality not according to the birthplace or family origin, but according to the place we love – a new national identity.

My native country is the country I love, meaning the country that makes me dream and feel well where I look like the native. I guess that means I am American; I am Greek; and I am Italian as much as I am Assyrian from Iraq.

At the moment of my bittersweet departure, I was at least happy and spiritually satisfied – I left memory there. I am certain I will return to Italy.


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* Special thanks to Alin de Botton who enriched my life through his book “The Art of Travel

Part 1- Italy and the blue sign of fun

* 2 min

“And to those who believe that travel is expensive, I say try a routine that kills you far more quickly”

I enjoy traveling. That’s an understatement. Traveling is an integral part of living a fruitful life, the type of life I always wanted to live. It’s my dream, and I’m living it. The quotidian routine of my life in Chicago immensely bores me. I don’t wish to be immobile like a tree, staying in the same place and doing the same thing. That routine would kill me. The only thing worse could be being buried alive. My soul feeds on the excitement of immersing myself into a culture of different people with new scenery and a different language and customs and experiencing the mystique and adventure of leaving my mark on these different places. Traveling is my spiritual remedy.

Some countries are to be flown over, and others to transit through, but only a few deserve to see every city in them. And this year, the Angel of Good Fortune allowed me to visit Italy again. The land of the Roman Empire and Julius Caesar, of gondolas and Venice, of beautiful churches and villages, of gorgeous vineyards, of a language so beautiful sounding that swear words sound harmonious, of unique people, and of delicious food. I love Italy and its history.

After a 20-hour flight from the US to Italy through Jordan and Turkey, I arrived in the handsome city of Rome. Upon stepping on the stair car, I felt the wind in the City of Saints and God. It was a sunny day and a clear sky where I can see the heavens. A few steps inside the ground terminal, a blue sign caught my eye. Written in an emotive two words that announces the way to get your passport, “Passport Control”. It reminded me of a similar sign I saw in Malta’s airport.


Malta’s airport

In an ephemeral way and verisimilitude association of the word “beautiful”, the charm of a foreign place develops from the simple idea of novelty and change.

Beauty is located in specific areas: in the ending of “O” in Controllo and “I” in Passaporti and their repetitions. The bequeathed Arabic words in the Maltese language of “Wara” and “S-Sarfra”, which mean “Behind” and “Yellow”. The signs present another history and mind-set.

The art of traveling includes all the small details of unaided discovery. It is learning from an absent teacher.

Passport Control


This time, “Controllor passporti” roused in me genuine feeling of a new imagination and a new reminiscence. It offered the first confirmation of my arrival. It was a symbol of being free like a bird to live how I want and travel where I want, thus, an exclusive emphasis on a new journey about to begin. The sign strongly suggested, despite its simplicity, that the country that lies beyond the passport control is in ways opening the door to a new experience of a lifetime.

Standing in the line waiting to be stamped so I can enter, I felt anxious but inquisitively interested in seeing all of Italy. A few minutes later, my passport was stamped and ready to go.

Every travel carries in its train some unpleasant moments. I walked to the luggage area and picked up my belongings, and then I took a few steps to the exchange booth. I soon discovered the sign of fun came with a large price tag. I exchanged $200 for 130 euro. Oops!

I scolded to myself, “this trip is going to be way too expensive!” But I knew it was going to be worth it!


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* Special thanks to Alin de Botton who enriched my life through his book “The Art of Travel

Iraqis vs. Indians in Iraq

5 min

As I reflect on four years working in Iraq as an Iraqi American, I’ve come to a realization about certain sociocultural trends with regards to the workforce that are profoundly intriguing to me. There are some things I must express about Iraqi workers in Iraq.

It is my observation and strong belief that Iraqis are good workers.   They are honest, hard-working, optimistic dreamers who wish to create a life of freedom, independence, opportunity, and cultural acceptance for themselves and their families. Of course, not every Iraqi fits the bill, but to stereotype against an entire culture when there are only a handful of bad eggs is, in this day and age, baboonish.

The irony, however, is that Iraqi companies don’t hire Iraqis unless they can exploit them through poor working conditions, low pay, and unguaranteed contracts. Iraqi companies will further go on to claim that Iraqis have mastered the art of getting away with not doing any work, as if there is a secret society of manipulative Iraqis who share stories and tricks on how to take full advantage of Iraqi employers and abuse the work system.

That is to say, Iraqi companies have come across the handful of lazy Iraqi workers and have concluded through generalizations that it makes perfect sense for them to hire non-Iraqis instead. For example, an Iraqi super market owner will hire Indians instead of Iraqis. I caught up with such a fellow last week. My curiosity on this subject made for an interesting conversation.

Why aren’t you employing Iraqis?” I asked the supervisor.

His reply was…“why should I employee Iraqis?! The Iraqi employee will be calling off every a few days with an excuse to not come to work. One day, it’s his mother. The next day, it’s his son. Next week, it’s his mother in-law…until all the excuses run out of all family members. But then, he’ll start them again. Plus, I hear complaints all day from Iraqis. ‘This is too heavy’. ‘My back is stiff’. Or, I will see them being unproductive and hiding in some corner just to run the time. What’s worse is that they’ll make these excuses and do a half-ass job, but they still have the nerve to ask for a salary raise. I got so tired of them and started to employee Indians.

What about these Indians employees?” I followed up.

He continued, “These Indian guys will work 10 – 12 hours day…will work six days a week. They will never complain. And mostly, they will never call in sick with an excuse to not show up at work. Some of them are so dedicated that they come here early and leave late. In a way, I feel I can be free of preoccupations with their productivity because I hold their passport, which obliges them to remain productive and obedient.”

As the supervisor was talking, a few thoughts came to my mind.

Maybe there is some truth to what the supervisor is saying. Maybe because non-Iraqis are in an uncompromising situation, they must work diligently and strictly abide by all policies. They can’t take the chance of half-assing their jobs because they will fear being deported. Iraqis, on the other hand, can be a little bit more lax when working. Because of this, Iraqi companies realize this and therefore, prefer to hire non-Iraqis because they can exercise more power. Iraqi workers, likewise, can exercise more freedom working for non-Iraqi companies that may not seem as tyrannical to them.

The perception of this apparent feud has inevitably created a burgeoning hostility between Iraqi companies and Iraqi workers that is noticeably real.

The majority of Iraqis who worked for foreign companies, at least those whom I have spoken with, will eagerly accept a pay cut to work for an American company than to stay at home in Iraq.

A foreign company has outsourced the hiring process to an Iraqi subcontractor – basically acting in a capacity of an Iraqi labor force recruiter. It is in this class where I’ve formed relationships with several Iraqis, gaining insights on their career perspectives and surveying them on their interest in working for American companies.

I asked them why they feel working for a foreign company is most desirable. They had much to say, but here are their main points:

First, if they get sick and bring a doctor’s proof to management, which oftentimes is not even required, they will be treated with sympathy and will generally still get paid time off. This is not true in Iraq, for if they work for Iraqi companies and miss a day for being sick, their pay is cut.

Second, Iraqi workers don’t want to be hired by middlemen recruiters because they won’t get the benefits and guarantees that they would working for a foreign company directly.

Third, and most importantly, during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, the foreign companies understand the Iraqi culture. The way employers are lenient, understanding, and respectfully cautious with pregnant women about to go on maternity leave, or with their staffs during Christmas break, I have noticed, and these workers have confirmed, that supervisors don’t assign heavy-duty tasks during the month of Ramadan. In contrast, working for an Iraqi company, an employee requesting such a consideration will probably be on the receiving end of a callous managerial response such as, “You are fasting for God and for us!

As an Iraq-American who has both lived and worked in Iraq as well as America, I can say the following. Most Iraqis are NOT lazy. They are hardworking people. And Yes! They would rather work for a foreign company more than Iraqi company. This is because they feel more respected by foreign companies. They are treated better and have more a sense of individualism and work/life balance working for foreign companies.

How depressingly ironic it is that Iraq is finally a free country, yet Iraqis don’t want to work in Iraq and Iraqi companies don’t want to hire Iraqis?! This is quite a dilemma.


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