Thura featured in a couple of BBC news reports at the time as a normal girl from a Shia family, and her personal diary provides a local insight into the fear and insecurity of the period from just before the bombs started dropping in March, finishing with the capture of Saddam Hussein (found hiding in a spider hole in a house near Tikrit).
Despite being such a fast read, the tension comes through as the family constantly debate whether to stay in Baghdad, and how far to flee. The ever-present dust. The struggle to get your hands on and then store a supply of insulin for her diabetic sister during. Even returning to their house and allowing her sisters to go back to school is a balance between security and normality.
It’s not a modern-day Anne Frank. And many of the questions you’d expect Simon Mayo to ask Thura if she appeared on his Five Live show aren’t answered in the text of the diary.
- What did you really think of Saddam before the invasion?
- While you thank the US for their generosity in funding your further education with a scholarship to the University of Philadelphia, do you also thank the US for invading your country?
“The Iraqi people don’t know the meaning of the words ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’. To them, ‘freedom’ means being able to do whatever they want and break the law and even kill people—a freedom from religion and tradition. But none of that means they’re free in the true sense. The only way people can be happy is by supporting one another. My people are destroying the meaning of the work ‘freedom’.”