Great Photojournalism
John TullyJaafar al-Rakabi holds up an old passport issued in Iraq before the war. His name was changed in 2007 while fleeing to Syria with his brother to escape the increasing danger in his neighborhood in Baghdad.  The two had been confronted on several occasions and told to pick up a weapon and fight or be killed. According to Jaafar, after arriving in Syria, he and his brother did not have a place to sleep from January until June, when they eventually found a small apartment to house his family of five and his grandmother.
Out of War
Jaafar Raad Al-Rakabi fled his home in Baghdad, Iraq in 2007 with his brother to find a home for his family in Syria. As men, they were being targeted by insurgents for not picking up weapons and joining the fight. The walk to school became a struggle, dodging gunfire and tiptoeing IEDs. Now a student at Saginaw Valley State University through The Iraqi Student Project, Jaafar has quickly adapted to an American way of life, making friends and holding informational presentations in an attempt to teach people more about Iraq. Granted a one-time entrance visa into the country, he will not be able to go home to visit friends or family until his education is finished in four to five years and communicates with his parents twice daily over the phone. He is studying computer engineering with the hopes of one day returning to help rebuild Iraq.
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