A story by Biddeford Cultural & Heritage Center Voices of Biddeford project from 1971 to 2021
Voices of Biddeford interview with Hasan Jasim on May 19, 2021
Growing up in Iraq, Hasan looked back fondly at his simple life as a young boy, and how that experience changed dramatically with the onset of several wars in his country. The days of living under the regime of Saddam Hussein brought great hardship for civilians and he soon learned the impact of not having freedom. Getting an education as an English teacher was his ticket to having a few more options and he quickly volunteered to help the US Army as an interpreter, despite significant personal risk to him and his family. The day in 2020 when he officially became an American citizen was one that he treasured.
In his interview, Hasan spoke of his journey from his Middle East hometown in a desert climate to Maine, a drastically different state he had never heard of before. He shared insights on his experience as an immigrant, as well as what he wanted us to know about the Iraqi people and their rich history, going back to the days of Abraham. He came to understand why Maine was such a great place to live. "I will not leave Maine. I will stay here." Hasan, his wife and two children, felt like they belonged.
Recorded on May 19, 2021
For more stories from the "Voices for Biddeford" project, visit Voices of Biddeford.