The Independence Day is next week, in honor of that day we would like to begin our first post by describing the core reasons for our family to come to the United States. Independence Day which took place 241 years ago commemorates freedom from oppression. That moment is not in the past but a moment that lives on. It had given my family a July 4th, 17 years ago when we landed in New York.
The collapse of the Soviet Union immediately brought the civil war to now the independent Republic of Tajikistan. The civil war lasted about five years with 500,000 displaced, and an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 people killed. The chaos in Tajikistan put an end to once flourishing communities that were now persecuted based on religion and nationality. There was no rule of law; the law was in the hands of those who held an AK-47 and had connections in the top echelons of government. Long lines for bread that could last for many hours and sometimes you would hear “No More Bread,” and now you had to go home and tell everyone there is no bread to eat and sometimes bread was all that you had to eat. Constant electricity outages, hot water only two months a year.
No security, no food, no vision of tomorrow. The place we thought was home became hostile to its citizens. We were among thousands who were seeking refuge from the persecution of what became a war-torn country. In late 1997, we were invited to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for an interview to immigrate to the United States of America. After the successive rounds of interviews, the path to Freedom and Security was now open.
In 1999, we landed at JFK Airport in New York City. A lot of words could be used to describe the feelings. But I would like to summarize it by saying it was like I was wearing a blindfold all these years and all of the sudden I don’t have to wear it anymore. Welcome to the United States of America.
In our next post, we will write about our experiences in New York.