Local News

Former Baghdad Resident Watches War From Unique Perspective

Posted March 30, 2003

— War touches people in different ways. One Triangle woman has a unique perspective on the action in Iraq.

She was born in Baghdad.

Dr. Maha Allatar knows about life under Saddam Hussein.

As the bombs rain down on Bagdhad, just imagine having friends and family there. Imagine it's your homeland.

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For Dr. Allatar, it's very real.

"Of course, I worry," she said. "Those bombs are dropping, and you don't know which bomb will go where."

Make no mistake; Allatar supports the war. In fact, the assistant professor at the University Of North Carolina in Chapel Hill believes it's her responsiblity to share her story with the media.

She wants to make sure Americans understand the suffering her people have sustained under Saddam Hussein.

"We're talking about cutting off people's tongues if they said something against the Government," Dr. Allatar said. "We're talking about raping women and daughters in front of parents."

Allatar's family fled the country 20 years ago. She said that, after Hussein took power, life in Iraq changed.

"There was a lot of fear and a lot anxiety," she said.

"When you're in the middle of tragedy and trauma, you don't really know what's happening to you. You think: 'Oh, it's going to go away.' But you didn't know it was just the beginning."

These days, Allatar is consumed with watching the images of war on TV.

"It's painful to watch," he said. "I think everybody watching is not happy about the pictures. But in the end, some good will come out of it."

Now a U.S. citizen, Allatar said she has no plans to move back to Iraq. Her hopes are that the war will end quickly and that one day the people of Iraq will be liberated and free of Saddam Hussein.

And once the war ends, she would like to go back there for a few weeks and help rebuild.

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