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Rita Alkhaledy grew up in Sadr City, a poor suburb of Baghdad. Her father is an Iraqi Arab and her mother was Kurdish Iranian. Her mother lived in fear that she would be cast out of Baghdad as being an outsider in Iraq was frowned upon. Her father served in the Iraqi army in the 80s and was gone a great deal, leading to a strained relationship. Their relationship was mended when her mother died from cancer.
After the Iraq war, Rita and her brothers realized that their lives were in danger. They had to move from house to house to stay alive. Rita loved Iraq and was planning to stay and help bring change to the country, but radical Muslim influences grew to the point she knew she had to leave. She and her American husband moved from Baghdad to Erbil, and there began a successful company. When ISIS took over, they again had to leave everything behind. Eventually they arrived in Utah in January 2015. Rita gives tender details about the difficulties of resettling in a new country, their growing business, pursuing higher education, and raising their two young children in America while still feeling attached to Iraq.
Utah, United States
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