Monday, April 07, 2003

Iraqi exile returns home - and brings the Marines!

This story in the AP is amazing Iraqi Exile's Homecoming Celebrated.

Khuder Al-Emeri has returned to his hometown in Iraq after 12 years away. He was a leader in the Shiite uprising in 1991 and fled Iraq after the Iraqi regime placed a price on his head.

Al-Emeri is in Iraq as a translator with the Free Iraqi Fighters travelling with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

"When news got out that Al-Emeri was back, crowds of men flooded into the streets and pressed around him, cheering and clapping and pushing up against Marines in defensive positions. One man rushed up to an American with a wreath of plastic flowers to hug him, rifle and all, despite the Marine's best efforts to maintain his distance.

His family were among those who rushed out to greet him — including his 15-year-old son, Ali, whom he hadn't seen since he left Iraq. When they first saw each other, they embraced tightly and wept.

Ali Al-Emeri said he was afraid to ever let his father go away again, but Al-Emeri assured him: "Stay home. You are safe. I am here, the U.S. forces are here." "

That last sentence says it all - a father assuring his son that he is now safe because 'the U.S. forces are here'.

Update - a more complete version of the story can be found in the NY Times


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