Iraqi journalist, doctors, speak at Mac

By April Dejarlais

As a part of the Minneapolis-based Iraqi & American Reconciliation Project (IARP), nine visitors from Najaf, Iraq came to Macalester last Wednesday. Evelyn Daugherty ‘11 worked with the Iraqi delegation and organized the visit to Macalester, which was centered around the visitors’ professions and the state of Iraqi-American relations in Najaf. The city is an official “sister city” of Minneapolis. Eight of the visitors were different types of doctors, and one a journalist. Mahdi al-Faraaon, a dentist, hoped to learn about infection control from dentists in the Twin Cities, and to generally “exchange experiences” with Americans. Questions asked by students revolved around the security situation in Iraq and the national mood toward the occupying American soldiers. Azar Maluki, a dermatologist, said that there is a “very safe situation in Najaf nowadays,” but that there are still “accidents” in the capital city of Baghdad. When asked if there is still a job in Iraq for the American military, al-Faraaon criticized the military for not “building” in Iraq, and only destroying “the buildings, the people, and the system” since 2003. In response to the meaning of being a doctor, al-Faraaon said there is “lots of responsibility to rebuild…from our side, and hopefully your [American] side.” “Let the Americans know we need builders, not fighters and soldiers,” Maluki said.