Posted by Joshua on Monday, November 30th, 2009
Reports are circling on Wall Street that Dubai’s debt may be as high as $120 billion (almost double initial estimates) and that Dubai’a ruler was “too proud” to admit the extent of the debt crisis. The Sunday Times has bad commentary on Dubai’s bust. This cartoon went along with the bad taste of the article.
SYRIA: Karrad, “If I stop working, how can we survive?”
Photo: Dana Hazeen/IRIN
|Karrad (right) and his brother Hussein hope to have a better future in a third country|
DAMASCUS, 30 November 2009 (IRIN) – Karrad, 16, and his family fled the sectarian violence in Iraq following the US-led invasion in 2003 and came to Syria in 2005. Although the Syrian government provides Iraqi children with free education in its public schools, Karrad and his brother Ali, 12, cannot go to school because they are the breadwinners. Karrad told his story to IRIN:
“I arrived with my parents and three brothers in Syria in 2005. As we were Shiites living in a Sunni neighbourhood [in Iraq], we used to receive many threats, which forced us to leave the country. My father used to work in the Iraqi security forces. In 2007, he went for a visit to Iraq and disappeared. We went back to look for him but we could not find out what happened to him.
“I was in grade six when we left Iraq in 2005 and have not been back to school since then. I did a number of jobs in Syria. [Initially] at a factory, then at a restaurant and grocery store among others. My brother Ali, 12, is working too.
“Then I started to have fights and arguments with my mother because she wanted our third brother, Hussein, to work too. I was against this. He was only 10 years old. Who will employ him and what can he do? It is enough that Ali and I are working. I wanted Hussein to remain in school.
Photo: Dana Hazeen/IRIN
|Karrad says he wants to work hard to be able to keep his youngest brother Hussein at school|
“After those things my mother decided to leave us. In March 2009 she took my youngest brother, Mohammed, 6, and left the house. She phoned us after two months to say that she had reached Greece. We haven’t heard from her since then.
“I live now with Ali and Hussein in this house. We don’t have any relatives here and nobody asks about us, including my relatives in Iraq. Ali and I work now in a real estate office while Hussein goes to school. I work from 9am to 9pm and earn SYP3,000 [about US$65] per month while Ali works from 9am to 7pm and earns SYP2,000 [about $43] per month. I have been in this job for about one-and-a-half years. Although the working hours are long I am happy because the people treat us well. We spend the day cleaning and making coffee and tea.
“We receive SYP8,500 [$184] from the UN Refugee Agency [UNHCR] every month but this amount goes for rent and electricity and water bills.
“I wish I could go back to school but if I stop working, how can we survive? I did not even think what I wanted to become in the future. All I think about is how to take care of my brothers.
“We struggled after our mother abandoned us because we are very much attached to our youngest brother Mohammed.
“All we hope for now is to be resettled in a third country because we don’t seem to have any future … neither in Syria nor in Iraq.”
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