What's In A Name? For Iraq's Saddam Husseins, A Lot Iraq has hundreds, maybe thousands, of Saddam Husseins, named for the country's former president during his reign. But nowadays the name is so hated that a group of Saddam Husseins in Diyala Province is petitioning the government to change their names.
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What's In A Name? For Iraq's Saddam Husseins, A Lot

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What's In A Name? For Iraq's Saddam Husseins, A Lot

What's In A Name? For Iraq's Saddam Husseins, A Lot

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/130926528/130952958" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

LIANE HANSEN, Host:

NPR's Kelly McEvers begins this report on a bus in Baghdad.

(SOUNDBITE OF A ROADWAY)

KELLY MCEVERS: Can he tell us his name?

U: (Foreign language spoken)

MCEVERS: Saddam Hussein.

U: Saddam Hussein.

MCEVERS: Iraq has hundreds, maybe thousands, of Saddam Husseins. Back in the day, if a child was born on the former dictator's birthday, the family might get money as a reward from the government. Nowadays, though, the name is so hated that a group of Saddam Husseins in Diyala Province, just northeast of here, is petitioning the government to change their names.

MCEVERS: Saddam Hussein.

MCEVERS: This Saddam Hussein works as a security guard at a nursery school.

MCEVERS: (Through Translator) One day, I was in the street. And my father, he came out of the house and he was calling me, Saddam. Saddam. Come over here. Of course for me at that time, I did not even turn my face towards my father.

MCEVERS: Okay, if he could say his name for us?

MCEVERS: Marwan Hatem Adhab.

MCEVERS: Khalid Hantoosh Sajet is a professor of sociology at Baghdad University. He says the sectarian fighting led people in Iraq to become more overtly religious.

P: But now that start to change. Because the Islamic wave, it is coming down. Down and down.

MCEVERS: But nurse Jinan Abdulelah Hamid says that's changing. Families are choosing more neutral names.

MCEVERS: (Through Translator): Most of those people are young couples, and you notice that sometimes they choose their baby's names from Turkish episodes and other foreign dramas.

(SOUNDBITE OF A CRYING INFANT)

(SOUNDBITE OF CONVERSATION)

MCEVERS: In a room full of mothers who just gave birth, some have chosen religious names - sisters of imams or companions of the Prophet.

(SOUNDBITE OF CONVERSATION)

MCEVERS: One woman though, says she sees no reason to tell the world whether her baby is Shiite or Sunni, whether the baby supports one political group or another.

U: She's a girl.

MCEVERS: And what's her name?

U: (Foreign language spoken)

U: Noor.

U: Noor. Noor.

MCEVERS: Kelly McEvers, NPR News, Baghdad.

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