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The Waiting Game

The Waiting GameYet to hear from her relatives in Baghdad, Tufts senior Rana Abdul-Aziz waits for word from her family -- and the Iraqi people’s freedom. Medford/Somerville, Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [04.11.03] Rana Abdul-Aziz and her family had no plans to move to the United States when they left Iraq for a vacation to the U.S. over 10 years ago. But when the first Gulf War began in 1991, Abdul-Aziz and her family were forced to stay in this country - thousands of miles from their relatives in Baghdad. Now in the unique position of being both Iraqi and American, the Tufts senior hopes for freedom for the Iraqi people -- and waits to hear from her family members after the collapse of Iraq's capital.

"Maybe they survived the bombings, but are they going to survive the lawlessness?" Abdul-Aziz asked The Boston Globe.

It has been three weeks since Abdul-Aziz - an International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies major at Tufts - last heard from her relatives in Iraq's capital.

"When I spoke to [my aunt], at that time she started to cry," Abdul-Aziz - who also has cousins in Iraq - told Boston's WBUR public radio. "She said that this bombing is very hard and that it's very heavy and she didn't know what to do. She kind of regretted that she didn't leave Baghdad."

The Tufts student - who has spoken at peace rallies in the Boston area -- said that her relatives have struggled with the effects of war on a daily basis.

"Abdul-Aziz says her aunt and cousins haven't really slept in the last few days because of all the bombing," WBUR reported last week. "They've opened all their windows and glass doors so that the explosions won't shatter the glass."

As the Tufts student told WBZ-AM Radio News, "They were very tired and very fatigued because they had been up for many nights. So we didn't really get a lot of information in terms of what was happening because they were really just kind of caught up in the middle of the bombings that were happening as we were talking to one another."

Abdul-Aziz told Boston's WBZ-TV News that the war has forced her relatives to live a day to day existence.

"They're living in the moment and so they are worried about what's going to happen in five minutes and when the next bomb is coming, rather than what's going to happen tomorrow or the day after," she told WBZ-TV News.

While the conflict forces her relatives focus on the present situation, Abdul-Aziz is looking ahead. The Tufts student says that she hopes the conflict will be accompanied by international investment in rebuilding Iraq and improving the lives of its citizens.

"My main concern right now is who's going to win the peace? That's my number one concern right now, is that this is not going to be a superficial type of change where we see some aid sprinkled here for the icing, but to really see true change, true institution building," she told WBZ News. "I want the Iraqi people to have a say, and to be a part of what's happening in their society."

Abdul-Aziz said that she hopes the international community will allow the people of Iraq to be liberated.

"I'm an Iraqi and American," she told Boston's WBZ News. "My hope is that Iraqis will live in a free society."


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