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Voices from Iraq


BBC News Online speaks to six Iraqis about their lives, fears and hopes.

Emanuel Shamoun is a 50-year-old Christian Iraqi living in Baghdad. He is married and a father of two children.

To get by I have several jobs. I have to go out from morning to late at night to make a basic living. I work at the radio station in the mornings, general jobs in the building. I'm a driver in the afternoon and evening, and I work at the hospital, just as a porter moving things about, late into the night. At my age this is very hard, I'm not a young man.

Frankly I have no idea whether war is likely to happen or not, and I don't understand why anyone wants to attack us
The years of sanctions on us here have made things very difficult for me and all ordinary people. The economy is ruined. It is very hard to make a living. Everyone is like me - working all our waking hours just to live.

Of course we fear a war, and don't want it to happen. Who would want any war? Frankly I have no idea whether it's likely to happen or not, and I don't understand why anyone wants to attack us.

Ordinary Iraqis are like me in that they have no idea what's going to happen. We are just going about our business trying to get by. How can they affect the situation? You try to provide for your family and that's it.

Staying put

If there is a war, I'm staying right here in my home in Baghdad. Where would I go? I don't have friends or family in the country who can put me up. I'd rather die at home than anywhere else.

If I leave my home in a war, we'll be thrown around the country and get lost as refugees. Of course there's a danger in staying in Baghdad, but I'd rather be here and my family will stay with me. Most people in the city will do the same.

As a Christian in Iraq, my situation is just the same as everyone else any normal Iraqi citizen who is poor and struggling. There's nothing special in my situation.

We can't really make any preparations for the war. Most of the food we have is from the rations the government provides the rest is very expensive. If the war starts the rations may stop, I don't know. In 1991 I was living in the north of Iraq and the war didn't affect us that much, so I'm not sure what it's going to be like if there is a war.

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