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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 July, 2005, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Michael Berg profile
Michael Berg is the father of Nick Berg who was taken hostage and killed in Iraq in April/May 2004. Nick had gone to Iraq as a civilian contractor to help the reconstruction. He was last seen at a hotel in Baghdad on 10 April, from there his family lost all contact with him.

"He was going over there because he wanted to help... and his way of helping wasn't to wear a gun, but to wear a tool bag and to go over there and build up rather than tear down."

Michael feels very strongly about the reasons for hostage-taking:

"I think that there is a way to stop the hostage taking and that is to negotiate, not only over each hostage, certainly that, but over the issues that have surrounded this region of the world for centuries."

Michael Berg, father of Nick Berg who was beheaded in Iraq
I think that there is a way to stop the hostage taking and that is to negotiate
Michael Berg
They had been in regular email correspondence and believe that he may have taken a bus to Falluja. The news emerged that his body had been found on May 7th, followed by the video of his execution on the internet.

Nick was the first westerner to be killed in this way - dressed in the now familiar orange jumpsuit. It is believed Nick was held and killed by the same group later responsible for the death of Ken Bigley, Tawhid and Jihad, lead by Al Zarqawi.

"In my worst nightmares before I found out how he was murdered, I never dreamt that that would have happened to him, and that added a whole new dynamic to it, and at first I didn't tell my wife or children how he was murdered, just that he was dead and that his body had been found. I didn't talk about the condition of his body at all." "When the phone call came that he was dead, which I had already assumed, it was almost a relief that at least we knew that, at least his body had been found, at least his suffering was over, whatever suffering that might have been."

Michael now closely watches events in Iraq, particularly hostage cases. He is also a member of the anti-war movement, and regularly speaks at demonstrations to highlight what happened to his son.

"I understand that war is ugly, and that they showed it at its ugliest, and they showed the world how ugly it was and that what they did to my son is a reflection of what the United States has done to Iraq."

"I have been working very hard to forgive all of these people, and the hardest one for me to forgive is George Bush."

Michael Berg on how he is still coming to terms with his son's death as a hostage


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