My Side |

My Side

I am a former secondary school teacher, oil painting artist and resident of Baghdad, Iraq. I was dismissed from my job as a teacher because I wasn’t in the Ba’ath party. I’m a friend for American Peace teams that visited Iraq before 1996.

Before the war, I fled with my family and sought refuge in Damascus, the capital of Syria, to keep my children from the war. When I returned to my home in Baghdad after the war, I discovered that my home had been entirely looted. What few possessions I had managed to acquire through the long years of sanctions were gone. Gone too was the relative security we had enjoyed before the much-touted fall of Baghdad. At that time, we realized our life in the present and foreseeable future has become so fraught with new dangers.

We, the Iraqis, especially in Baghdad, live a horrible life. The water is not well and rare, also the electricity is four hours on and four hours off, no phones till now, no security, no employment, no jobs. I tried to get back to my job, but that was useless.

I faced many problems. One of these, I went to the market to buy many things for my children and the house, like food and clothes, but I was robbed there and I lost much money. Then I got back to my home without the money, neither with the things I wanted. That has happened with me several times. The money is what I received only from my artwork, because I haven’t got a job. My husband has continued his higher education and stayed at home. We have waited for a miracle from God.

My friends from America helped me to sell my work in the United States. That is helping me so much, because it is the only source for my family to live.

In the first of August, I tried with a partner to start an Internet Cafe to employ myself and many young men ” educated ones ” because there is no employment in Iraq under the occupation. There is only bombing, fighting and stealing by Ali Baba’s thieves.

We started to develop our youth and our country.

I borrowed much money to start this project, but unfortunately an explosion happened to a restaurant near our Internet Cafe. We lost much money to fix it and we fall into debt.

After two weeks, my friend sent me some of my artwork money by selling some of my paints with a young lady, her name is Frances Anderson. Unfortunately she was robbed by Ali Baba’s thieves on her way to Baghdad.

This is the fifth time that I lost much money that I needed most in that time to solve many, many problems with my family, the Internet cafe and my debts that became more and more each day.

That’s my story. I know it is sad, but I believe that many faithful friends, brothers and sisters in the United States can help me, even with nice word to me. My e-mail is

With my best wishes and prayers to America’s people.

” Amal Alwan lives in Baghdad with her husband, Safa, and their children Ali, 4, Omer, 7, and Abeer, 11. Her paintings are on display and for sale at the Artist’s Mercantile, 823 Cooper Ave. in Glenwood Springs. Other galleries interested in showing her work may contact Sue Gray at 963-2558 or by e-mail at

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