By Mark Pattison
AMMAN, Jordan –- The Italian Hospital in Amman has more refugee patients than Jordanian patients. In addition to their physical problems, many have psychological needs that stem from their being terrorized in their homeland.
One patient sat curled up in his bed while a friend stood at his bedside. The patient gave no evidence that he was aware of all the people milling around.
Among the patients were two residents of Mosul, Iraq, who had sought refuge in Jordan.
Agnan Adnidihad is 62 years old, but looks a couple of decades older. With Dr. Khalid Shammas, the hospital’s chief physician, interpreting, Adnidihad said he has family in the United States, including a daughter in San Diego, but the nation’s doors are not open to him at this time.
Adnidihad is a member of the Assyrian Orthodox Church, and it was nearly a week after the Orthodox Easter when he was interviewed. “It is the same everywhere” for Easter, Adnidihad said. Shammas added, “Of course, being away from his own country, it is different for him.”
“They took everything away,” Shammas added, a reference to the Islamic State, which has terrorized Mosul since late last summer. “His money, his jewelry, gold. Everything. They left Mosul without anything.”
If he were to gain entry to the United States, Adnidihad thinks he would quickly find gainful employment. In Mosul, Shammas said, “he used to have a place where he would renovate machines — cars.”
Then there is the situation of Arshad Daghdoni. Already by age 30, he has had a stroke and a heart attack. The Assyrian Catholic also broke his ankle late last year.
Daghdoni, who learned English while in high school in Mosul, worked for more than a year for the U.S. military in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad as an interpreter. Despite this on his resume, he cannot get to the United States.
His family lives in near New Haven, Connecticut, but he can’t get to them –- his appeals to the United States and United Nations have to this point fallen on deaf ears — and they can’t get to him.
“They don’t even all have green cards,” he said.
The men were just two of the patients. A third was a newborn baby whose parents were refugees from the civil war in Syria. The child’s father could not speak English, and the baby’s mother did not want to be photographed.
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I will continue to blog from time to time about things I encountered on my #holyjordan journey. Also, look me up on Twitter at @MeMarkPattison.