The views expressed in this op-ed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SyriacPress.
By Matti Kallo writer and journalist
As it has already infected the Iraqi homeland, corruption has also spread among parts of the community in the diaspora. Here, I do not want to go much into the social services provided by emigration countries in Europe, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand because the services provided to immigrants and refugees are countless from the first moment of arrival in their new emigration homeland. Moreover, what the refugees receive is no less than what is offered to the citizens who were born and raised in that country and whose parents and grandparents built that democratic country in which everyone is equal before the law. The services provided to refugees include the granting of freedoms which were divested from them by their abhorrent dictatorial home government. Whether before the fall of the tyrannical dictatorial regime in April 2003 or after, most refugees left their homeland after the bitter suffering they endured, including oppression, persecution, unwarranted arrests, silencing and the abolition of freedom of expression. I think we cannot call Iraq in its current form and under its corrupt sectarian regime that is eating away at all the state institutions, a “State”. Rather, it is a collective of gangs, militias, and religious and sectarian parties and groups openly plundering and stealing Iraq’s resources and wealth!
The majority of those who arrived in the diaspora rolled up their sleeves and engaged in their new life and new society. They learned the language of the country, then found a job and sent their children to schools or universities where dozens of their youth graduated as engineers, doctors, pharmacists, administrators, and into other professions. There are those who entered in commercial and industrial businesses and became the pride of the community and the homeland that they and their families forcibly left!
In order to communicate with community members and bring community members closer to each other in social and cultural relations, some of the immigrants and refugees submitted requests to establish associations, clubs, and cultural, social and artistic forums aimed at strengthening the bonds of brotherhood and love among the community members far away from home. Some of these associations receive financial aid from their new country, but the majority of administrative bodies of the associations rely on self-funding to continue their activities – which is an indication of their desire to expand the relations with their original motherland as well as the emigration country they live in. They also seek to introduce their civilization, culture, and customs through public celebrations.
However, and with great regret, there are those who have offended the reputation of their homeland through inappropriate actions including corruption practiced by some immigrants who are lying to the country that granted them citizenship – citizenship they were deprived of in their home country. And we are not referring and do not want to deal in this article with practices like tax evasion and work without declared cash transactions.
And it is rather strange and surprising that some of these corrupt immigrants and refugees move in society as people of proud principles. Such people do not delay going to churches or mosques and practicing their religious rituals. Such people talk about what is lawful and what is forbidden. They lie in order to steal money, knowing that not only did all religions forbid lying and theft, but humanity as a whole did. We must examine the level of what some have reached by citing an example.
In the country of origin, when you wanted to obtain a license to establish an association, club, or cultural or social forum, you needed to submit a request to the Ministry of Interior. The time that it took (and takes) for the license to be approved or rejected may exceed one year as it makes its way through several departments, including the General Security Department to investigate the applicants for the license. After all that time and investigation, most of the times the license request is either rejected or simply neglected without any reply.
In the diaspora countries, however, an association license request can take no longer than one day. It is usually filed online after paying an amount of money that does not exceed $100. After that the association has the right to freely carry out its activities in various fields, whether cultural, artistic, or sportive. The diaspora state authorities support these activities financially according to the activities presented within a year and after the association has presented documents about these activities that serve the community in particular or society in general. Some associations, in fact or paradoxically, practice their cultural, artistic or sports activities with the aim to reflect a nice image that benefits their motherland’s ancient civilization.
Now we repeat the regret once again: there are some so-called “claimants of culture and patriotism” who establish an association in the “wind” and try to limit its members to family members and relatives only. They make their uncles uncle “president” of the administrative body and keep everything under their control!!
The association’s activities usually take the form of a family trip. Then a number of pictures are taken and attached to the request to the concerned state authorities to obtain a grant or “theft”, taking advantage of the confidence of the state!! And this grant or theft is usually repeated from time to time. And despite their “corruption” in the diaspora, they attack the corrupt in their homeland.
Matti Kallo is a writer and journalist originally from the Syriac town of Bartella, Nineveh Plain in Iraq. Since 1995 he lives in Melbourne, Australia
Disclaimer: translated from the original Arabic. Here