Saturday, March 03, 2007

Perspective: The displaced begin trickling back

Children play on round-about swings at a park in al-Sadiya, Baghdad in this photo from Summer, 2006

BAGHDAD, IRAQ - At a time of epic displacement, Fuad Khamis has done something extraordinary: He has moved back home.

"When I arrived, I was overwhelmed and frightened at the same time," says Khamis, a Sunni Arab taxi driver from Baghdad's religiously mixed Sadiya neighborhood.

His house was damaged and there wasn't a piece of furniture left. But Khamis, a father of five, said his Shiite neighbors have welcomed him back with hugs and kisses.

Encouraged by the start of a major security clampdown that began Feb. 13 and reassurances from his neighbors, Khamis is one of the first to test Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's recent pledge to reverse the tide of sectarian "cleansing" sweeping Baghdad and move tens of thousands of people back home.

Read the rest at the News Observer