Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Family Hopes Prosperity Lies Ahead; HER STORY: Adiya Aliyev and Her Family Fled Persecution in Uzbekistan and Now Live in Jacksonville, but They're Having Trouble Making Ends Meet. WHAT WOULD HELP: Money to Pay Bills, Seek Dental Treatment and Help Learning English, Which She Needs to Increase Her Chances of Finding Work

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Family Hopes Prosperity Lies Ahead; HER STORY: Adiya Aliyev and Her Family Fled Persecution in Uzbekistan and Now Live in Jacksonville, but They're Having Trouble Making Ends Meet. WHAT WOULD HELP: Money to Pay Bills, Seek Dental Treatment and Help Learning English, Which She Needs to Increase Her Chances of Finding Work

Article excerpt

Byline: SHAUNA O'BRIEN and JORGE ROSADO

Fleeing years of ethnic violence, the Aliyev family's first glimpse of freedom and safety came this September when they stepped off an airplane, arriving at the Jacksonville International Airport.

The Turkish family of six had left Russia in pursuit of a new beginning. The Aliyevs wanted a life free from nearly 17 years of brutal persecution, first in their native Uzbekistan, then in Russia.

They came to Jacksonville because of a family connection, hoping what they had heard was true: that Americans treated each other equally, regardless of ethnic or national identity.

"In Russia, we thought of the freedom in America and that they would accept anybody," Adiya Aliyev, the 44-year-old matriarch, said through an interpreter. "We would not be persecuted again. We could have a peaceful life."

As Turks, the family had always been a persecuted minority. They had been beaten and threatened. Their money had been stolen. Their home and belongings had been set afire. They lived amid civil unrest where neighbors were persecuting neighbors.

Adiya wiped tears from her cheeks while recounting a violent beating where strangers came into her home and threatened to kill her.

"We didn't leave the house for two days," she said. "We had no food, but we were too afraid to leave."

Their treatment had not been unlike that of other Turkish Muslims. Their ancestors had been forcibly moved to the Soviet Union by dictator Joseph Stalin more than 60 years ago. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, ethnic tensions rose and Uzbekistan in particular has been unrelenting in persecuting the Turks within its borders, according to Human Rights Watch.

"We didn't have any relatives killed," Adiya said, "but we had many friends killed."

Arriving in America with no money and only four bags containing their possessions, the Aliyevs were ready to start a peaceful life. They are working hard but still face obstacles.

Since they arrived, the Aliyev family has received money to help with rent, utilities and other necessities. They have also received $500 in food stamps. But on Jan. 1, they will no longer receive money for their $750 rent or other bills. Only the food stamps will continue.

They also worry about medical needs. Although the children will have Medicaid for another eight months, Adiya and her husband, Teymur, do not receive any medical support or insurance. The couple both have dental problems that leave them in constant pain. …

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