Iraq - The Children



[FONT=Verdana, Helvetica, Arial]It was just an idea – talk to kids. Find out what they think of the war. When you interview adults here in Iraq – you often get a filtered view of reality. On the other hand, kids can’t lie. They will always tell you the truth – and really, it’s the truth we’re interested in.

So, one morning I set out in the neighborhood looking for kids to talk to. With me, the over talented cameraman Dominic Swann – neither of us had a clue if anyone would talk to us. Our fixer kept smoking – shaking his head, letting us know that this in all likelyhood would be a failed mission. Of course, it’s Baghdad so our other options were try this, or sit in the office and wait for the violence and live shots to begin.

It took over three hours of talking to people before we found a 16 year old boy who was willing to tell us his thoughts. His first one, “Saddam was better than the Americans.” We’re off to a great start – I thought. “Any hope for Iraq” I asked. “None,” he said.

“This is going to be a very uplifting piece” our stringer said immediately. Such is Iraq.

Kids in Iraq are wonderful. They run the same routine anytime they see a foreigner. First they send a scout. He appears from no where – checks out the situation, then disappears. Depending on his report to the others, flocks of kids start to arrive. In this case, there were at least a dozen.

One became the leader. He pointed out everything that had changed – the trash, the blast walls – the western security. He told us he wished he could play football without fearing for his life.

I asked one final question to the group that had arrived. “How many of you have lost family members in this war? Everyone raised their hand.

“Welcome to Iraq,” said my stringer.

Posted by Cal Perry, Baghdad Bureau Chief: 12:13 PM

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