Young Dentist Describes Life in War-Torn Iraq

A 24-year-old dentist who lives in Baghdad reflects on being displaced from his wealthy neighborhood and how the security situation has affected his life.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Throughout this week, we'll try to give you the information to make up your own mind about Iraq. We will provide many perspectives, including one from a man who is trying to survive in Baghdad. He's a young Iraqi dentist. We're going to here entries from his diary.

Here's NPR's John Burnett.

JOHN BURNETT: Dr. Hassan came to lunch one day at NPR's Baghdad bureau. He's short and slight, with thick black hair and an eagerness in his eyes. He agreed to narrate his life for several weeks.

Dr. HASSAN KHALIDY (Iraqi Dentist): My name is Hassan Khalidy. I am 24 years old. I live with my family - my father, my mother. I have two brothers younger than me and one sister. She's also younger than me. I graduated from college of dentistry. Now, I'm a dentist.

The situation in Baghdad is not stable and it's bad. So sorry for that. And we have to rebuild our country with our efforts.

BURNETT: His life is fairly typical for a young Baghdad professional. He chats on the Internet. He sleeps on his roof to keep cool. He drinks coffee with friends when it's safe to go out. And he's been touched by tragedy. Here then is Dr. Hassan's diary.

Today, he remembers the neighborhood his family had to flee because of rising sectarian violence.

Dr. KHALIDY: I felt very sad. Even my tears flow over my cheek because I see it's empty. There is no people. No one walking in the streets. All the markets are closed. Like a ghost neighborhood. I saw my home. It was okay but our neighbor home was destroyed. The upper floor is with the earth level, so it's completely destroyed. I didn't hear anything about our neighbors from the time that I lived this neighborhood until now.

I - it's so sad for me to mention this story. The terrorists destroy us, destroyed our dreams. I don't know what they want from us. What we did for them to destroy us. Why you explode the markets, the hospitals, the suicide bombs -why in the schools? I feel so sorry about the evils of 11 September. But believe me, you have to know the Iraqi people are living the same events daily, daily. Tons of people are dying every day with no reason. Most of them, if not all of them, are innocent civilians.

I live in Baghdad. It's the worst in Iraq. Until now, we don't know who's our enemy. Why they kill us? What our sin? I don't know. And no one can answer me. So sorry. Even the terrorists cannot answer this question.

INSKEEP: Dr. Hassan Khalidy is a dentist in Baghdad, and we'll be hearing from his audio diary all this week on MORNING EDITION.

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