To: H E Mr Zvi Gabay
Israeli Ambassador Dublin
20 April 1999
Greetings and salutations. This is but an introductory letter and message of peace. I am Iraqi by birth and have been an Irish national since 1986. I left Iraq in 1976 and have not been back since. My paternal grandfather Senator Mohammed Al-Sadr was one of Iraq's 1920 uprising leaders, a hero of independence, an ecumenist, a political and religious figure and one of the fathers of the Iraqi state. It is because of this family background that I was brought up to know about and respect all the constituent groups that constituted the people of Iraq. Alas, the violent Iraq of Saddam I grew up in (post 1958) had very few Iraqi Jews, but both my late parents spoke fondly of them. I yearned to hear the Iraqi Jewish dialect.
I am an avid visitor of the Internet and visited the Babylon Jewry Heritage Centre site. I also received their newsletter Nahardea. I was amazed to see so many names I recognised from what my parents had told me. I signed the guest book and subsequently received an e-mail from a Ms Helen Bekhor in Australia. She is of Iraqi Jewish origin and her husband Ken is an Iraqi Jew. She told me that your kind self is an Iraqi Jew and that is why I decided to write to you both to introduce myself and to offer you greetings. Helen and Ken Bekhor also asked me to convey their regards (they told me to remind you that you had lunch with them, many many years ago when you were stationed in Sydney).
I pray that our peoples find peace in our time and that we all can hear the Iraqi Jewish dialect spoken again in the land of Babylon, in a free, democratic and pluralist Iraq. Please honour me by visiting my website at http://www.geocities.com/BourbonStreet/Quarter/1803 and feel free to e-mail me any time.
Shalom / Salam
Mohammed H Al-Sadr
6 May 1999
Dear Dr Al-Sadr
Thank you very much for your letter and the sentiment it contained. I am following with much anxiety the situation in Iraq and only hope that peace will prevail in that country for its people and the future generation in the Middle East.
I enclose a copy of The Scribe, a Journal of Babylonian Jewry published in London and trust it will be of interest to you.
If you would like to make any comments or contribute to the scribe please contact us.