I’d always seen this man, the man without an eye. I’d always admired how he cared for the NBC T.V network’s fleet of cars that he cleans each evening. I’d noticed how he scrubbed the tires, so the car looks brand new again. This man just works, and works. Then sleeps on the ground in the open air next to his cars. He is happy to have a job, a good job, with the Americans.
Today I stopped and let my curiosity end. I wanted to know who he was and how he lost his eye. Samir always says “Every Iraqi has a story.” So what was this mans? The man lost his eye in the Iran war. He was taken to war in his late teens. One night Iranian bombing killed most of his friends, but a few, like him, were found alive amongst the dead. For some reason they were not executed but taken prisoner, and that was his story for the next 18 years.
He was released from prison in 1998 and received $300 from Saddam for his troubles. He spent the money on fixing his blind eye. He looks up from a dirty tire he is scrubbing in the unbearable heat.. “You know some people here resent me having this job.. you know, working with an American network, but what have I ever got from this country after all I’ve given it..?”