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I have recently discovered your wonderful publication. When I was a small child in the late 1940's my American mother married the son of a prominent Iraqi politician, and in the early fifties we went to live in Baghdad. I remember driving around the city with my parents looking with a mixture of wonder and vague dread at "abandoned" properties that had belonged to Iraqi Jews. Some houses stood empty for years, tied up in legal wrangling between certain of the rich and powerful who sought possession. Why I remember this so well, at an emotional level, is that a peaceful sector of the community that had been a part of the city for ages could arbitrarily be uprooted and driven out. Since then I learned that Baghdad's Jews had constituted a very large fraction of the city's population. With them the city lost much of its best and brightest, especially in terms of culture.

Now the Jewish victims of forced emigration have been joined by new waves, a continuing Iraqi diaspora. One can actually follow the threads on the internet, as Yezidis, for example, try to find one another. It is significant that many disparate ethnic groups are linked together on the internet's Iraq sites, which is how I found you. The times are changing rapidly. Who could have predicted the changes in the Soviet Union? With any luck at all, it will be only a matter of time before the peoples of the Middle East, including those in current partial diaspora, reconstitute in mutual self-interest to form a brighter, more mutually understanding and tolerant society. With any luck at all.

Carbondale, IL

Jim May


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