Thursday, March 08, 2007

Perspective: 'Instead of being thanked, we policemen are seen as bad people'

A masked policeman. Police often wear masks to disquise their identity, and protect their families from reprisals.

Sami Salah Al Din is a 35-year-old Iraqi policeman. He used to work for the Ministry of Water Resources during the rule of former President Saddam Hussein but lost his job after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Salah Al Din says he never wanted to be a policeman but was left with no other way of supporting his family in a time of high unemployment in the country. Being a policeman in Baghdad is a highly dangerous occupation. Thousands of policemen have been killed since 2003. Salah Al Din fears for his life and the fate of his family should he be killed.

"Every time I leave home, I kiss all three of my daughters as if I won't see them again. I leave my home in civilian clothes and change into a police uniform once I'm inside the station. I do this so that I am not targeted on my way to work."

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet