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In Pictures: Vivian's story (Baghdad widow)

Old 04-22-06, 05:32 PM
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In Pictures: Vivian's story (Baghdad widow)



One year ago, Vivian Salem Mate lost her husband Nasim and three children - Husam, 15, Wasim, 12 and Merna, 6, - when an American tank shelled their car as the family attempted to flee heavy fighting in Baghdad.

Since then she has struggled to rebuild her life, but can't forgive the Americans for killing her family.

"If they want the oil, they can take it. Is it worth more than my children? They didn't even leave me one," she says.


After the loss of her family, Vivian had to sell her home and move in with her parents.

Vivian and her brother were the only ones to escape alive from the car when it came under fire from a US tank.


Vivian worked as an accountant at the Ministry of Finance from 1985-1991.

Under Saddam Hussein's regime, her wages were very low, so she gave up work to spend more time at home with her husband and children.

In October 2003 Vivian went back to work in the accounting department of a local hospital.


Vivian says work is a way of forgetting her grief.

She earns more money in her new job, but her salary is not high as it is her first year at the hospital.


The wrecked family car, riddled with bullet holes, now sits outside Vivian's brother's house.

Vivian says she finds it very difficult to look at the car.

The family were hit by fire from a US tank as they tried to flee fighting near their home in Yarmuk district.


Vivian had to bury her husband and children in an old, delapidated Christian cemetery as her traditional family plot is in a now dangerous area of Baghdad.

When the security situation improves, Vivian wants to move their remains to the family mausoleum.


Vivian and her family are Assyrian Catholics. When her husband and children were killed, people from the newly-formed Evangelical Baptist Church came to console her.

Since then she has regularly attended baptist services with her remaining family.


"Before, when I had my family I didn't have time to go to church often.

"Now, I don't have so much to do, I go to church three or four times a week. The people in the church have helped me a lot. It feels like a big family.

"I hope my family are now angels in heaven, and when I die I will see them again."

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and americans wonder why the world hates them.
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Old 04-22-06, 06:08 PM
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OK Terrific!
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Old 04-22-06, 06:13 PM
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It's nice to know that church helps console grieving widows. That is what this thread is about, isn't it?
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Old 04-22-06, 07:05 PM
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Accidents happen in war. While I'm certainly sorry for her loss, I doubt that these types of accidents are preventable without putting our soliders at risk.
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Old 04-22-06, 07:06 PM
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I feel bad for her, but this kind of stuff happens in necessary wars as well.
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Old 04-22-06, 07:34 PM
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Tragic story. I'd imagine there are a lot of tragic stories coming out of Iraq the past few years.

If I was in this woman's shoes, I know it would be hard to forgive. But from an outside perspective, I don't think this should make "the world hate america."
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Old 04-22-06, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Thor Simpson
Tragic story. I'd imagine there are a lot of tragic stories coming out of Iraq the past few years.

If I was in this woman's shoes, I know it would be hard to forgive. But from an outside perspective, I don't think this should make "the world hate america."


There have been thousands of deeply tragic stories coming out of Iraq for decades now. It's just that few cared before.
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Old 04-22-06, 11:49 PM
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So the world hates us because we target Assyrian Catholics?

I would think they would at least hate us more for harboring Celine Dion.
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Old 04-23-06, 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
So the world hates us because we target Assyrian Catholics?

I would think they would at least hate us more for harboring Celine Dion.
Speaking as a Canadian, we're glad you took Celine. Seriously. It was the most selfless and charitable act our good Southern neighbors have done for us in decades. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.
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Old 04-23-06, 10:50 AM
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George Bush doesnt care about Assyrian Catholics
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Old 04-23-06, 01:01 PM
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Unfortunately, I don't think most Americans care much about dead Iraqi civilians. It's all about how many American soldiers are dead, and about how many "insurgents" are being killed.

The civilian casualties are the main reason I opposed, and continue to oppose, the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Or in the words of Robert McNamara, "How much evil must we do in order to do good?"
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Old 04-23-06, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by GreenMonkey
Unfortunately, I don't think most Americans care much about dead Iraqi civilians. It's all about how many American soldiers are dead, and about how many "insurgents" are being killed.

The civilian casualties are the main reason I opposed, and continue to oppose, the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Or in the words of Robert McNamara, "How much evil must we do in order to do good?"
I completely understand this line of thinking. However, I do think one has to balance how many civilian lives are saved. Easiest way would be to take an approximate number that Saddam killed per year and compare the two. Haven't done that myself. It would be interesting.
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Old 04-24-06, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
I completely understand this line of thinking. However, I do think one has to balance how many civilian lives are saved. Easiest way would be to take an approximate number that Saddam killed per year and compare the two. Haven't done that myself. It would be interesting.
How is it even possible to do that? What standard do you use to measure whether those killed under Saddam deserved it or not? If Saddam gassed 10,000 serial killers (without you knowing that is why they were gassed), would they count in your numbers? Also, I'm sure according to Saddam (and the official policy of the nation at that time), all of the civilian deaths were justified. It's impossible to do what you are saying with any degree of accuracy.

Somehow I doubt that any of the type responses here would get the same response if a foreign country invaded America to take out Bush on war crime charges and accidentally wiped out their family in the process.
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