A very sad incident took place last month where our friend Ammar's brother was shot and killed.
Lets pay our condolence to his late brother Younan .....
In America, they became reality in the life of Bashar "Robert" Younan.
Years ago, the 32-year-old fled the regime of Saddam Hussein and came to this country with nothing. But he turned hard work as a convenience store clerk into a life his former countrymen could never have.
He bought a house and a red Jaguar sedan. He became a partner in the store he managed. He was about to become a U.S. citizen, his family said.
But the life Younan worked so hard to build ended abruptly Thursday afternoon when someone with a gun walked into the Kwiky Mini Mart and shot him dead.
Las Vegas police believe the motive was robbery. They were searching for suspects Friday.
The slaying shocked those who knew Younan. Regular customers of the store on Tropicana Avenue near Spencer Street remembered his friendly face and good humor. Many stopped by the store to leave flowers and candles in a makeshift memorial.
At a relative's house Friday, black-clad relatives recalled Younan's daring escape from the repression of Iraq to the freedom of the United States.
"He loved the freedom," said Rita Abrahams, a cousin.
Younan's journey began in 1991, shortly after U.S.-led forces drove Saddam's army out of Kuwait. Younan faced an impending enlistment in the Iraqi army, where soldiers were paid $30 a month, received no benefits and served indefinitely, said Tom Kalandos, a cousin who spent 10 years in the army before fleeing the country.
With Younan's enlistment looming, his parents decided to send him, along with his younger brother and sister, away from the tyranny of Saddam and away from the religious harassment they endured as Christians in a land of Muslims, the family said.
As Kalandos recalled, Muslims would tell him, "You are a nice guy, but you still have one bad point: You're a Christian."
The siblings' escape started with a trip to Yugoslavia, one of a few countries that Iraqis were allowed to visit then. Once there, they hired a smuggler to guide them across the border. He led them through the mountainous terrain for more than three hours before reaching the safety of Greece, the family said.
Back in Baghdad, Younan's parents knew they might never see their children again. Relatives of Iraqis who fled the country often were imprisoned or killed if the regime discovered the truth, Kalandos said.
"They take the whole family to prison, and you disappear," he said.
Families made up stories to cover for the relatives who escaped, telling nosy neighbors they were studying or visiting family in other towns. With no sophisticated computers or tracking systems, such lies were usually enough to keep safe, he said.
You never told the truth.
"You just live in fear," said Abby Haddad, a cousin.
In Greece, Younan found work and filed for refugee status with several countries, including the United States and Australia. His siblings did the same. A couple of years went by before Younan learned the bittersweet news.
He was accepted into the United States, but his brother and sister were headed to Australia. Like many Iraqi refugee families, the Younans would be split by diplomatic forces beyond their control, the family said.
Younan settled with his relatives in an apartment in San Diego, where his knowledge of the ancient language of Chaldean led to work in the area's large Chaldean-speaking community. Eventually, he earned enough money to move out, taking an apartment one floor above the one he left.
"You still have to have home cooking," cousin Aida Kalandos said.
Meanwhile, his work as a convenience store clerk caught the attention of the store owner, who was planning to open a store in Las Vegas. The owner offered Younan positions as the store's manager and a silent partner in the business, his family said.
Younan moved to Southern Nevada in 1997 to open the Kwiky Mini Mart, and for the first two years worked from open to close, seven days a week, said his uncle, Sabah Marogi.
The hard work paid off.
In 2000 he bought a three-bedroom house in the northeast Las Vegas Valley. A couple of years later he bought a new Jaguar. He dressed in designer clothes.
In nightclubs such as SRO, Younan flaunted his love for salsa dancing -- and ladies, his family said.
"The girls would cling onto him just for the free drinks," Haddad said. "He loved it."
In recent months Younan talked of settling down, and just days before his death, Younan passed the written test to become a U.S. citizen.
But for all his success here, Younan yearned to rejoin the parents and siblings he had left behind. The family reunited, briefly, a few years ago in Australia, where Younan's parents settled after fleeing Iraq.
"He was hoping, one day, he and his family could be together," cousin Tina Marogi said.
After learning his son's fate, Younan's father had to be rushed to the hospital because of his high blood pressure. The condition probably will bar him from flying to the United States for his son's funeral, so the family is planning to send Younan's body to Australia.
After 13 years apart, Younan and his family will be together again.
Rest in Peace, Younan