This is How you Kill a Dream...Easy!
My future boss was on vacation at that time but he was so kind to follow up with me and his secretary in order to finalize everything so that by the end of August I would be their official employee.
Alongside my other preparations I put two suit cases on a small table in my bed room and put all the necessary things I would be taking,especially the winter wardrobe to make sure I would not forget anything and to save me some time and some panicking. I hate packing on the last minute!
The days I spent in Baghdad after coming from Dubai were quite hectic and I was 24/7 busy.
I worked overtime to compensate the times I am off office to finish my papers and also to finish the accumulated work of the month I spent in Dubai in addition to my leaving everything mental and physical preparations. I was keen to wake up on week end so early to spend as much as I can with my family and I was keen not to sleep after I get back from work at 6pm to again spend the time with them.
I started feeling quite awkward when September came and I was still sitting in my office in Baghdad! A couple of inquiries from my side and responds from my company stated that my papers were already submitted and there is no reply yet. It usually took 2 weeks so we were in the safe side, which is what I have been told.
My future boss assured me that it’s ok if it took some time for even though he has a foreign passport the immigration of Dubai gave him hard time when he was to renew his residency.
During that time a problem occurred in Baghdad International Airport regarding the Baghdad-Dubai flights which were achieved by three airlines, two foreign airlines and one by the Iraqi airlines making three flights per day. The problem reduced the flights and the nearest one I could find was quite far. Still not knowing what was my situation I emailed my future boss to inquire.
His response came on 11th of September,2005 and it stated:
It looks like the visa is in security now and we don’t know how long that will take..... I suggest you book for the 21st flight and then if anything changes between now and then we can review situation then.
A week later, a quite disturbing email came from him:
We had a setback with your visa last week, but we are trying to use a 'wasta' to
help. We hope to hear either today or tomorrow if we have been successful. I
know it is confusing, please bear with us for the next couple of days while we
try to sort out Thanks & regards
Another week, another email:
Good morning (.........)
I am sure you have been anxiously waiting to hear news from us - as we have also been trying very hard to get the visa sorted out. We have been asked to resubmit the paperwork, which we have done today. Inshallah I hope we hear something positive either later today or tomorrow. With best regards
Even though it is over a year since I received those emails, still I cannot help but feeling the heavy cloud of sadness, depression and lack of hope sitting on my chest jubt by reviewing the emails.
My bags were still on that table, my boss in Baghdad started to ask me frequently about my situation and he started to worry for me, my family started trying to locate some good contacts to help me sort out my problem. I phoned every single person living in Dubai I know, even the visa guy who issued our visas. All confirmed that their male friends did not have a problem getting jobs and residencies there with a push from a good contact, local UAE contact. As for the females, no one knew.
It is quite disturbing to go back there and remember everything. Amazingly everything is engraved in my brain, kept aside somewhere ready to be called again.
I remember I fought back all the negativity, mentally at least. Physically my body was showing the stress indications.I lost more weight, black bags started to show on my face and every one who envied me for leaving the country started to smile at me with mean eyes when they see me passing by.
My future boss urgently requested more photos and so I did. His email came as another slap:
Thanks for the photo.... we have resubmitted the papers this week, but can do nothing but wait for a reply. It seems that UAE immigration is getting tougher with Iraqi's. I hope that your current employer/boss is sympathetic to the situation and that this is not causing you too much stress.
Will hopefully hear one way or the other saturday or maybe sunday as the
immigration & labour offices are closed for the weekend.With best regards
October came and the final strike came with it by this email:
The situation is not good I'm afraid... The security (emin) for the ministry of labor rejected your application, we have tried through a number of ways and wasta's that is why we again resubmitted your papers. We heard that they are not willing to reverse the decision. I am sorry to have to tell you the news so directly. We will try again with one other contact and will get him the papers today, otherwise we can only wait and try to resubmit again in the future.
Believe me when I say that we have tried very hard to get this resolved and are also very disappointed. I will let you know how we get on with the final contact
we are trying.. With kind regards
Now when I think of it, I feel I was still in denial at that point for I was still clinging to my future boss. Was digging for any hope but it was all dark. Maybe the unsaid good bye from my future boss was the reason.
My bags were still there gazing at me whenever I walk into my room or the minute I wake up, they were there. I was like a zombie walking in our company, lost the sense of being among my colleagues. I started isolating myself. Some of my colleagues thought I was coming out of a tragic love affair that left me as a wreck.
One day as I was sitting in the living room sipping my morning tea. My dad, sitting in the garden with his newspaper in his hand,called out for me. He handed me over the newspaper saying read this.
It was an interview with the Charge' d'affaires of UAE Embassy in Baghdad, Mr. Ali Alka’abi. My heart was beating so fast when I read one of the sub head lines stating: “No Restrictions on Issuing Visas to UAE and Some People are Manipulating Iraqis” …
Ok now I cannot help not feeling like a damn fool by just revealing what I had felt but let it be.
I did not read between the lines, did not realize the lies in there but my eyes went to where my heart wanted and saw the phrases that I needed the most.
This is the translation for the bits circled in red which is translated by one of my best friends :
Reporter: Iraqis face difficulties when it comes to UAE visas and rumors say that UAE do not issue visa to those who never entered UAE before 2003.
Mr.Ali Al-Ka’abi: There is absolutely no difficulty. What we did was assuring that the process of issuing the visas is done by official conveniences for there are certain people who are making business of out it. The visa fees do not exceed (300) AED which is less than (100) USD, however some of the unauthorized individuals are selling it with +1000 USD there for we wanted to protect the Iraqi citizens from these swindling and conning trade despite that we do not authorize issuing visas in Iraq.
As for the claim that visas are granted only to those who have been to the UAE before, it is groundless. On the contrary we have been making things easier particularly for Iraqis, there are no restrictions whatsoever against their stay in our state, even those who have violated the immigration laws have not been deported, they are well treated.
I decided that I should request a meeting with Charge' d'affaires of UAE Embassy in Baghdad, Mr. Ali Alka’abi. I prepared a letter of a meeting request, explained in it briefly the whole facts.
The newspaper, copies of my passports (old & new), the visa, my resume, my college certificate approved by the Embassy and our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the employment contract with my company in Dubai, the correspondence emails with my company and even official papers of our house in Baghdad and my family. All were enclosed with that letter.
To be continued......