Your Stories

A 1970 Escape from Saddam's Hell, and Rebirth in Canada

STORY BY: Chantal L.
YEAR: 1970

Chantal (pseudonym) shared several stories by email: "When you asked (in BOOM X) what came to our minds about the year 1970 at the beginning of your play, I yelled "Escape" knowing of course that only I would understand or hear myself. You see, after Israel won the war in 1967, Jews in all Arab lands became subject to various forms of persecutions. Saddam's Iraq was one of the most vicious. We were not allowed to enter Universities, sell our own land or property, work, travel or even withdraw our own money from the bank! In November 1970, I was lucky enough to escape this hell through the mountains of Kurdistan to the Iran of the Shah then... albeit without my dear parents who stayed behind. I came to join my sister and cousins who had immigrated to Canada in the 1950s already. I was happy to catch the afterglow of Expo and Woodstock and all the fun and freedom that represented. To me 1970 represents my "REBIRTH" as a free citizen in Canada with equal rights and opportunities. it represents Heaven on earth! Will you be mentioning the peace treaties with Israel and Egypt before Sadat's assassination as well? Because this is why he was assassinated in the first place and this marked the emergence of the Muslim brotherhood movement! Of course, I was working in Canada then... a merry-go-round of going places and hard work... and I watched it all on TV while my parents were still stuck in the hell of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
So the period of time you cover in BOOM X truly hits everyone in our generation ...the loss of innocence and wars as you mentioned."

Chantal later added: "By the way, Jews were living in Mesopotamia (Iraq) for more than 2700 years. They were there since Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler of Babylon, destroyed the First Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and brought the Jewish King and his elite prophets, scientists, etc to Babylon (Iraq) (Mesopotamia). The Jews then helped the Babylonian ruler with his irrigation system and were set free to govern themselves. So the Jews were in Iraq way before Christianity and Islam, until after the creation of Israel in 1948. This is how a whole population and culture of 2700 years - and a population of over 180 000 - were uprooted and ethnically cleansed between the 1950s and the 1970s. From +180 000 population, there are less than 5 Jews there now. Thank you for sharing your stories, Chantal.

For further information, Chantal passed on a link to this video: "The Untold Exodus of Jews from Arab Lands"

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