U.S. Army Interpreter Votes Despite Adversity-Hawaii Soldiers in the Middle East Series

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    Contingency Operating Site Marez – The Ninewa Reconstruction Cell, part of the 130th Engineer Brigade, uses local interpreters to reach out to the people of Mosul to make their projects successful. An interpreter, who goes by the name Elvis, has worked with Company D, 401st Civil Affairs Battalion, since they arrived in Iraq in July 2009. He travels with the team in the city of Mosul translating Arabic to English and vice versa.

    Elvis, who has his degree in English from the Mosul University, said he has thoroughly enjoyed his time with the team.


    “I really enjoy working with those guys. They are very smart and understand the problems of Mosul. They understand what needs to be improved, and they’re trying their best to get done what needs to be,” Elvis said. With elections just around the corner, Elvis has been released from duty in order to have the opportunity to vote.

    Elvis believes these elections are of great importance.

    “As a Christian living in this country, I have to be concerned about the elections and politics,” he said. Elvis, who is Assyrian by ethnicity and Christian by choice, said he has been persecuted because of his religious choice, and because of his work with U.S. forces in the past. Despite the threat of persecution, Elvis insisted on voting.

    “I believe we shouldn’t fear terrorists because then they win. If people would stand up to those who persecute them for whatever reason we wouldn’t have as many problems,” Elvis said.

    “I don’t want to leave this country, but I will if I have to. I would only leave here if I felt my family or my life was in danger,” he added.

    “We’re looking for security and stability in this country,” Elvis said. If the elections go the way he believes they should, he feels Iraq will continue to improve and grow into the great country it could be.

    He believes that by keeping religion out of the government all people of Iraq will be represented fairly. In the past not all religious group were represented equally within the government.

    “I hope no religious leaders will win in these elections,” said Elvis.

    The elections are being handled by Iraqi officials with no U.S. assistance. Elvis said he is appreciative for the assistance the United States has provided the Government of Iraq, but is glad to see these elections being ran by the people of Iraq.

    ‘Pfc. Jennifer L. Lowes is with the 130th Engineer Brigade Public Affairs Office. Reach her at mailto:jennifer.lowes@iraq.centcom.mil’