Seven Years Of Life in Baghdad — Amal Salman's Diary

The location of Baghdad within Iraq.
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When the U.S. invaded Iraq, she was 13, and she began keeping a diary, then living with her family in Karrada, a working-class district. Amal Salman has since moved with them twice, one of eight children of a widowed mother. Her oldest brother, Ali, was arrested last year after a raid on a local cafe and has been in prison for eight months so far.

Here’s some of her diary, and a story about her life since she began keeping it, written by Washington Post Middle East correspondent Anthony Shadid, which ran recently. Like teens elsewhere, Amal sleeps in a bedroom filled with posters of her idols, including the soccer team Real Madrid, soccer star David Beckham and actor Brad Pitt.

Salman tells Shadid she writes at night when “the noise subsides and I hear only the frequent roar of the helicopters roaming back and forth, to which I have grown accustomed.” That’s my kind of reporting.

Her sister Fatima says she loves Dr. Phil and Oprah; says Amal, “We already have enough disasters in Iraq. Why do we need to hear about other people’s?”

It’s rare and valuable to hear from a young woman abroad, her words unmediated. I’m glad Shadid asked her, she trusted him and she agreed. That’s also my kind of reporting.

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