Out of Iraq

Marc Kusnetz

After dropping out of contact for several months, Muhammad emailed from Baghdad last April:

I’m writing for you today asking your help (if possible if possible) to pick up me from the hell which is Iraq. Actually, I reached now the climax of the suffering here in Iraq.

I have never met Muhammad. But I have come to know him through telephone conversations and emails that stretch back to 2005, when he and I were both working for US news organisations. A former colleague had put me in touch with him when I was trying to contact members of an Iraqi family about whom I wanted to write. Muhammad, despite not knowing who I was, and despite my pleas that he make his enquiries by phone, insisted on going into the streets of Baghdad to find the family. That was two years ago; not long afterwards Muhammad’s troubles began:

In 2005 robbers got my car while I was driving near my home and tried to kill me when they (six people using two cars) put their pistols in my head and I said the (Shahada) Islamic words before the death, but they left me by the will of God.

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