Iraqis living in USA eager to 'take our country back'
By David Kiley, USA TODAY
More gathered after work at a park in this Detroit suburb, home to many of the area's more than 100,000 Iraqis and Iraqi-Americans. They shared hugs, food and music, and they made plans to return to their homeland to see loved ones left behind years earlier.
"I told my travel agent this morning I want to be on the first flight back," said Ali Al-baaj, owner of Al Zahra Fruit Market on Warren Avenue, the scene of a spontaneous parade of cars festooned with Iraqi and American flags and anti-Saddam placards.
Kamillia Marogy of the Manera Travel Agency here says many of her customers called to inquire about a charter flight to their homeland. "I'm not sure when it will happen, but soon, I hope. ... I will go, too," she said. Her family is still in Baghdad.
Vabil Alwayili, a truck driver from Basra, and Mahdi Aljabery, a pharmacy student, drove the streets in a Pontiac Firebird with an 8-foot U.S. flag billowing from the door frame.
"Saddam thinks he is king of the world, but he is finished," said Alwayili, whose aunt was killed by Saddam loyalists. His cousin, a medical student, was imprisoned for 10 years and emerged mentally ill.
"Everyone here and in Iraq has had a member of their family killed or worse by Saddam," he said.
Faris Araaj, a student at the University of Michigan's Dearborn campus, stood by himself on a street waving an 8-foot U.S. flag at motorists most of the afternoon.
Araaj last spoke to his family in Basra 10 days ago, before coalition troops seized control of the city.
More gathered after work
I worry about them returning so soon to Iraq, as it still might be dangerous there.