Laura Hamblin speaks about Iraqi refugees

There comes a time when you’re hit once again with reality. Not the reality of school, work or even life — but with something greater and more terrible. That is what UVU professor Laura Hamblin experienced this last year.

Hamblin spoke on Sept. 16 as part of Ethics Week and drew a large crowd as the aisles and walls were packed to capacity and beyond.

Hamblin got a chance to live for a year in Amman, Jordan: A place with little water and almost no natural resources. During this time, she interviewed and spoke with 78 Iraqi women refugees who fled because of the war. Hamblin said that it was important for her to get the women’s viewpoint because everyone always hears the men’s side.

During the hour-long presentation, Hamblin wove the audience through her experience with the Iraqi refugees and the things she learned while living there. Only 20 percent of the refugees believe they will make it back to Iraq one day. One of those hopefuls said that when she gets to Iraq, “I won’t simply kiss the ground — I will eat it!”

Hamblin described a few stories of the women. She said the refugees’ number one reason for leaving Iraq was because their lives were threatened or a family member was murdered.

A woman who was once part of the ministry of education in Iraq is now selling cigarettes on the sidewalk in Jordan; another woman who went to college with Hussein’s daughter’s received her dead husband on her porch. “The most devastating war wounds are soul wounds,” said Hamblin.

When asked what the hardest thing about coming back was, Hamblin said, “I am paralyzed by my own opulence.”

Hamblin has transcribed her interviews and is waiting to turn her experience into a movie so all can see the reality of Amman, Jordan.

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