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Chris Metcalf

specialization is for insects

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I thought I’d relate a story about something that happened to me today that I don’t think you’d find it outside a culture like metro Detroit (which has the largest Muslim population in the US).

Today when I was getting my hair cut, the 20-something man to my right was getting his hair done because he was having an impromptu wedding this weekend. He was getting married early because he was being shipped off to Iraq on the 27th of December. He was enlisted as a medic in an Army engineering regiment and was looking forward to his assignment.

The woman cutting his hair was born in Iraq, and grew up in Mosul. He was asking her questions about what to expect when he got over there, and she was telling him stories about what it was like growing up in Iraq under Saddam’s rule.

The woman cutting my hair was Jordanian, and was telling me about her Chaldean husband who worked construction. Chaldeans in Iraq were heavily persecuted for their Catholic faith under the Ba’ath party and many of them fled to the west to escape. Her husband was thinking about returning to Iraq to work on its reconstruction. Apparently you can make $100,000 US for a six-month tour as a construction worker - more than enough to buy a house in Detroit.

On my way out I wished him the best of luck and told him to take care of himself. I don’t think there was a soul in the room that wasn’t proud to have him there.