Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

21 years of living in a wall to hide from Saddam.

Jawad Amir is the Anne Frank of Iraq.
At age 28, he squeezed into a hiding place between the walls of his parents' home in the village of Jobah after Saddam Hussein ordered that he be executed.

Now, at age 49, Amir has emerged to a very different country - one where he finally feels safe to step into the sunshine.

"I feel as if I had just given birth to him again," Amir's elated mother, Ramsya Haddi, told BBC News.

For 21 years, Amir lived in fear of being snatched by the dictator's henchmen. Only a few relatives and his mother knew he was living in the narrow slot between the walls.

His life-or-death game of hide-and-seek began when he angered Saddam by supporting an outspoken Shiite cleric.

In a space less than 2-1/2 feet wide, accessed by a tiny trapdoor, Amir passed the time reading the Koran with a flashlight, listening to a small radio through headphones and worrying he would be found. His only view of the outside world was through a tiny peephole.

The frail, pale and bearded Amir kept photos of himself as a young man and saved the teeth he lost over the years. His family sneaked him food and never uttered a word of his whereabouts. His neighbors thought he had vanished, like so many others who irked Saddam and his bloodthirsty sons.

< email | 5/28/2003 02:24:00 PM | link

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