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Saturday, May 18, 2024
HomeIraqBaghdadBaghdad, Iraq: Family Reunion

Baghdad, Iraq: Family Reunion

Family Reunion is part of the Iraq Homecoming Trip Report. Read Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.


At the top of the Guns & Butter must-do list when visiting a country for the first time is to meet a relative for the first time.

Since I was born in the United States, I had never met my uncle. Trying to reconnect with my roots and learn more about my family’s experience in Iraq (see Iraqi Homecoming: My 40th Birthday in Baghdad), I arranged a Sally Jesse Raphael reunion. I was excited when he answered the call. I was ecstatic that he invited me to his home.

I was a bit nervous when I showed up because I did not know what to expect. After the usual pleasantries, we got right to it. He treated me like he had known me for years. Nothing was off-limits. I had never met this person, but he was quick-witted, knowledgeable, and refreshingly disagreeable. He shared some funny stories about my parents and my other relatives. We talked typical Arab gossip over Arab cookies, Arabic coffee, and, of course, chai.

For me, the debate of nature versus nurture is over. This stranger was no more and never was. Sit with us for a few seconds and you will know that he is my uncle and I am his nephew.

a man standing next to an old man
You still owe me dolma!

This was an awesome experience, one that cannot be replicated and one that I cannot put into words nor would I want to do so. This was also the conclusion of my time in Baghdad.

Mosul anyone?

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