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Accepted Paper:

Displaced Iraqi Professionals, Protection and ‘Aman Space in Jordan and Memories of a Destroyed State  
Laura Adwan (Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Science)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores experiences of Iraqi professionals displaced in Jordan, following periods of wars. Using the notion of ‘aman (well-being) to explain Iraqis’ ways to make meaningful lives for themselves away from the “refugee” title conditioned by quantified suffering.

Paper long abstract:

The conditions of reduction in ongoing wars in the Middle East are widespread; and not restricted to certain communities categorized as forced migrants or refugees. The media live streaming coming about Syrian, Iraqi, or so-called Muslim refugees entering or banned from entering EU countries only briefly depicted the larger story of forced displacement in the region. Very often details of everyday life experiences and struggles are reduced to statistics and stories of flight and suffering which focus on the urgent need to assist the “victims” or avoid the potential threats of terrorists using humanitarian aid. In this paper, I explain migrants’ way(s) of making their own safety-&-dignity, using details of my ethnographic journey among Iraqi former state professionals displaced in Jordan following the brutal US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. Many Iraqis did not use the term “refugee” to describe their presence in Jordan conditioned by quantified suffering. Instead they acted as agents in “a complex relation to the possible,” to create their safety with dignity or well-being (‘amān). As elaborated by Jackson (2011) and al-Mohammad (2015), well-being is related to one’s ethical commitment to share ʾamān with others; family members and friends. I explore through Iraqis recollections of past experiences and daily attempts to work as volunteers in Jordan or through circular migration between Iraq and Jordan, how they were able to preserve a professional life that seemed essential not only for their own well-being but also for the well-being of their families and fellow Iraqis.

Panel P003b
Beyond the 'Suffering Subject' in Migration Research II
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -