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Radio Diary: A New American Citizen — And A New Son

Ahmed Al-Zubaidi of Beaverton, Oregon holds his infant son, born on Nov. 3 (Photo provided by Ahmed Al-Zubaidi)
Ahmed Al-Zubaidi of Beaverton, Oregon holds his infant son, born on Nov. 3 (Photo provided by Ahmed Al-Zubaidi)

Ahmed Al-Zubaidi of Beaverton, Oregon joined us back in late September. Ahmed was born in Iraq — and he became a U.S. citizen just days before coming on On Point.      

Since joining us in September, Ahmed has kept a close eye on the presidential election.

“I was dying to get my citizenship before the election,” he says. “I watch all the debate happened, even the vice president. And I keep watching, update myself.”

Ahmed and his wife, Rasha, also had something else to look forward to, besides Election Day. They were expecting their third child — the first to be born in the U.S.

“We thought he will be around Nov. 8, 9. We don’t know,” he says.

But then … as Nov. 2 ended and as Nov. 3 — Election Day — began …

“Like around 2 a.m., my wife, she says like, ‘I think I need to go to hospital,’” he adds.

The baby was coming.

“We’re in the hospital. And everybody — like all the nurse and doctors, they try to focus. And I was watching news in the room ignoring everything, just to see what we got,” Ahmed says. “And my wife, she look into me like, ‘Really, do you think this is the time?'”

Around 9:22 a.m. P.T. on Election Day, Ahmed and Rasha’s son, Ali, arrived.

“I was happy for Ali to arrive at that day,” he says.

And luckily Ahmed and Rasha — also a newly naturalized American — had already cast their ballots early.

“I danced because I was happy,” he says. “This is a historical moment for me and my family.”

Ahmed is well aware that because Ali is a natural-born U.S. citizen, he could grow up to be president.

“I will keep feeding him that idea. And maybe — one day — he will be at least a senator,” Ahmed says.

Until then, Ahmed has hope for his new home country.

“[It’s] our responsibility to stand for this nation and not let any politician try to divide us,” he says.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.