Jordan is a refuge for hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, mostly from the Sunni majority who were empowered by Saddam and now feel threatened. The well-to-do hang out in hotels and cafes, some nursing dreams of a Sunni restoration ("sort of like the Cubans in Miami," one Iraqi friend put it).
But others are ordinary Iraqis who have fled because of death threats delivered during the sectarian civil war. They are barely hanging on, their money depleted, afraid to go home, and unable to work or afford schools or medicine for their children.
While I was sitting with one Iraqi woman, who has tried to help those less well off, her cell phone rang. After a quick chat, she told me, "They just kicked out a nine-year old Iraqi girl who is dying of cancer from King Hussein cancer center. Her parents have sacrificed everything to bring her here; there is no treatment available in Iraq. But they kicked her out."
She quickly got back on the phone trying to find an intermediary to get the girl back into treatyment.
It is pitiful that the Iraqi government, with an oil surplus, has done nothing to help with medical care for refugees. My Iraqi friend things Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki should fund a hospital in Amman that would treat poor Iraqis and Jordanians alike.