When I returned home from a weekend family trip, I checked my mailbox and found an envelope from Nidhal Garmo, a pharmacist known for her incredible humanitarian work in Iraq and neighboring countries. I opened the envelope and found a three-hundred dollar check. I asked Nidhal what this check was for, and she said, “You have been supportive of my work for many years. I wanted to do the same for you.”
I didn’t know what to say. Nidhal’s generosity took me by surprise, even though she is well known as “a giver.” In one of my books, The War Generation, I titled the chapter about her “The Woman That Keeps on Giving.” Yet the last time someone from the Iraqi American community was that generous was over ten years ago. At my book launch party, a Muslim man I had never met donated two-hundred dollars, because he said he was proud of my achievement.
While the Iraqi American community is established economically and generous in general, when it comes to supporting the arts – well, let’s just say that compared to the rest of the world, they have some catching up to do. But I guess that’s not the case with Nidhal. She has given me a gift as a token of appreciation for my consistent desire to dispel stereotypes by telling true life stories. She knows the enormous time, money and energy I’ve invested into these projects, and her gracious gift says to me, “Keep going.”
Thank you Nidhal!