Written in Ink
Written in Ink
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State Dept tells Iraqi contractor, "Our bureaucracy is way worse than being murdered."

Amazing tale of bureaucracy, via This American Life. An Iraqi named Omar works for a US Army contractor during the war, driving a forklift. When he starts getting death threats targeting him and his family, he follows the process to request relocation assistance. After months of responding to his increasingly nervous emails with replies that seem written by a machine, the State Dept regrets to inform Omar that he has been murdered and will not be leaving Iraq.

From the TAL site:

The emails start when an Iraqi man (we call him Omar, but that’s a pseudonym to protect his family) begins corresponding with two refugee processing bureaucracies, overseen by the State Department.


Omar says in his very first email that he’s afraid for his life because he worked with the U.S. Army as a forklift operator. He’s asked many times for information that he believes he’s already provided. Within a year, he’s dead.

Neither the State Department nor the International Organization for Migration (IOM) would comment on Omar’s (or any individual’s) case. We sent them the emails that seem to have come from their organizations and they confirmed that they’re characteristic of the types of emails they send.

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