Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Iraqi Omar Satar Hussein has survived 30 bombings, 37 shootings and 11 mortar strikes.

He just happens to work with the US Army as a translator.

He is known as "Lucky". No surprises there.

Working for the US Army is about the most dangerous profession an Iraqi can have today. 'Lucky's' a association with the Americans, and the Iraq War, have cost him dearly. His fiancee, family, friends.

Hussein mastered the English language with the help of Abba, Lionel Richie and Bryan Adams cassettes.

His favourite, most inspiring song? "Stayin' Alive' by The Bee Gees.

From the AFP :
"...I'm lucky with my job. I've survived many attacks, but I'm very unlucky with my private life."

The life of an interpreter for the US army in Iraq is not an easy one. From social ostracism to death at the hands of insurgents, the job is fraught with risk.

"Everybody in Baquba knows my job -- I work for the Americans," said Lucky, who, alone among his translator colleagues, does not wear a mask to conceal his identity.

"I have no family anymore. My grandfather told me that I didn't belong anymore, so America is all I have."

Hussein himself has become pretty familiar with the inside of a US military operating room and he likes nothing better than showing off his collection of scars that stretch from his head to his toes, including a nasty cut on his leg from shrapnel that came from a rocket launched by an Apache attack helicopter.

"If I hadn't been lucky I would probably be dead," he said.

A bit of a show-off, Hussein is one of the rare interpreters who actually speaks English like a native, having particularly mastered American slang and profanity...

No comments: