The story of two gay men that met during Iraq war and fell in love with each other is now available in a documentary titled Out of Iraq, and you can watch the trailer below.
The two men met in 2004. Nayyef Hrebid and Betu Allami were both involved in the Iraq war. Nayeyef was a translator for U.S. militia and Betu a soldier with the Iraqi Army.
They met during a mission involving the reclaim of Ramadi General Hospital that had been taken over by insurgents. After long days of hardship in the middle of the war, the two would come together to a safe house where they had meal and have long conversations.
Their bond became stronger and stronger while they were discussing the events and how they saw a better future.
“Because, you know, we see dead people. We fight. So what we talk about is our life and past, about how we feel, about where we like to be in the future,” Hrebid said. “And that was very beautiful in that difficult moment.”
None of them was openly gay but they had feelings for each other. After four days spent together Allami told Hrebid that he loves him. Herbid kissed him.
They knew they were in a dangerous place, that their love could not survive there and they had to hide.
“To be gay in Iraq, it’s very dangerous,” Hrebid said. “It’s losing your life. You get shame to the family. You lose your family, and you lose your friends, you lose everything almost. That is why there is other ways to be gay, just between you and maybe the other person.”
They kept their love hidden for five years and would meet in places nobody could saw them. In 2009 something that would change their lives happened. The militants were chasing Hrebid.
“They start writing our names in the street; I cannot meet my family any more, and all my neighborhood knew I work with the Americans, so they call me traitor,” he said.
Hrebi had to leave Iraq because his life was in danger. He was granted asylum in Seattle, U.S.A. and left. Allami stayed in iraq, but their love never died. Hrebid was desperately looking for ways to bring his lover to Seattle.
Meanwhile, Allami’s life was in danger after his relatives found out he was gay. Herbid’s friends helped Allami to move to Beirut, Lebanon. From Beirut, Herbid managed to bring Allami in Vancouver, Canada. They were back together, as they could see each other weekly.
In 2014 they got married in Canada and in 2015 they were both approved a visa to live in the U.S.A.
“That day was one of my biggest days, ever. We went there and I had a bunch of paper, photos and letters to prove our relationship. And the interview was only 10 minutes. She asked specific questions about how we met, how long we’ve been together, and how we connect with each other. After that she said, ‘You’ve been approved for a visa to live in the United States,‘” Hrebid recalls.
Now they live in Capitol Hill in Seattle, finally together in the same place, without fearing that they are in danger.